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Expert Column: Are You Ready for EMV Compliance?


As an independent grocer, you understand the importance of staying relevant to your customers and keeping up-to-date with technology advancements, especially those that keep your customers’ data safe. However, credit card fraud and business data breaches continue to be a major issue, and the United States, in particular, has led in fraudulent charges for the past few years. Some standards are about to take effect that grocers need to be aware of to combat the fraudulent activity.

One of the biggest comes this October, which coincides with the 12th National Cyber Security Awareness month and concerns EMV, a new global standard to help protect transactions. Starting in October, if merchants don’t have an EMV-compliant terminal and a customer’s transaction is found to be fraudulent or is the victim of fraudulent activity, the liability for any charges will now be with the merchant. Taking on fraud liability presents great risk for any size business, but it's especially risky for small merchants, given that 90 percent of small businesses are impacted by data breaches.

You may be pressed for time and resources, but that can’t be an excuse for not understanding this major shift in the payment space. Through innovation in payment technology (both hardware and software), there are easily accessible tools to keep your business and customers safe. Retailers should make the investment instead of live with the risk of paying for fraud and potentially losing their customers due the financial and reputational fallout.

As you prepare for the EMV migration, here are five tips to help you prepare for the October 2015 deadline.

  • Mark your calendar. On Oct. 1, 2015 you are now financially responsible for fraudulent transactions if your point-of-sale system is not updated to be EMV-compatible.
  • Update your technology. Is your current POS EMV compliant? You may want to call your provider to check.
  • Educate yourself. Unlike your standard debit and credit card, EMV cards must be inserted into the POS. This can be tricky for customers using this process for the first time, so make sure you and your team understand this so you can help customers.
  • Connect with your financial institution or payments processor. Tap into your resources to learn more about how to prepare for EMV.
  • Think beyond EMV – both the liability shift and the technology. This isn’t a one-time update, nor is it the only way to protect your business. EMV is a proven technology that prevents counterfeit card fraud, but it does not prevent data breaches. To prevent broader breaches it's imperative that you employ a solution that encrypts and protects card data from the time it's swiped until the transaction is settled.

Keep in mind that with EMV you have a choice. You can choose to eliminate risk by upgrading and maintaining your systems, or do nothing and run the possibility of taking a major financial hit due to card fraud sometime in the future. The issue with the latter choice is that a major loss due to fraud, the cost of recovering financially and the loss of time and reputation may be difficult to overcome. In some instances, it can mean going out of business.

Finally, while Oct. 1 is a milestone date, liability shifts are gradual and the transition won’t be “over” in 2015. EMV will continue to roll out over time, and it’s likely that large-scale chip card issuance will continue through 2015 and into 2016. As an independent grocer, it’s important to stay on top of the payments industry and ensure that all of your systems stay up-to-date to protect your customers and your business.

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