EMV – Ready or Not, Here it comes

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2015_04_02U.S. Banks, card issuers, processors, retailers and consumers are gearing up for the October 2015 EMV liability shift. EMV stands for “Europay, MasterCard and Visa,” which set out to create a world-wide standard with increased fraud protection for credit cards and terminals. The technology involves two parts – chip cards and EMV enabled credit card point of sale terminals.

Consumers are starting to receive credit cards that likely have both options: the embedded microprocessor chip and the traditional magnetic stripe. The embedded chip will interact with the credit card terminal with dynamic authentication information, and the magnetic stripe can be swiped with embedded static data encryption. Both methods will continue to be made available as merchants update point of sale terminals to EMV enabled terminals. Only one method will be used to complete the transaction, and the point of sale terminal will determine which should be used.

To make a purchase using the chip card, the merchant will enter in the sales amount to the terminal. When the final sales amount is complete, the consumer will ‘dip’ their chip card into the bottom slot (chip face up and enter first). The chip card will remain in the terminal during the transaction until the terminal states to remove the card. The terminal will provide a message if not able to accept the chip card, and then swiping the magnetic stripe will be the purchase method. Similarly, the terminal will also provide a message if the magnetic stripe has been swiped when the EMV chip is available and the terminal is enabled. The EMV method will take a few seconds longer than the swipe method.

Why go through all of this?

There are several benefits for the U.S. to move to the EMV standards. As mentioned above, EMV chip cards contain a microprocessor chip for dynamic encryption. The encoding makes is extremely difficult for fraudsters to create counterfeit cards or ‘cloning’.

EVM chip cards can be used globally as other international markets have been operating on this infrastructure for many years. Some international merchants no longer accept magnetic stripe cards, thus important to have a chip card when travelling abroad. Additionally, some international consumers only have EMV chip cards without magnetic stripes, so merchant need to have EMV enabled terminals to keep their business.

And maybe the strongest reason is to avoid financial repercussions. While the merchant is not required to adopt the EMV technology and have an EMV enabled point of sale device, there will be a liability shift for fraudulent activity. Starting in October 2015, if a fraudulent transaction occurs, the party without EMV technology (the merchant without an EMV enabled terminal or the issuer that did not provide the chip card) will be financially liable.

 

Jennifer Autian is the founder of TCA Business Solutions and an independent representative of merchant services. To learn more about EMV technology or explore other payment processing options, connect with her at 678-523-8760 or by email at Jennifer@tcabiz.com.

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