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accept emv cards

Training Your Employees on EMV Card Acceptance

Brant Schelhaas

Although some companies made the shift to EMV-accepting card readers by Oct. 1, 2015, many more are still in the process of making the transition. In fact, only 40 percent of merchants were ready for the payment industry's self-imposed deadline.(1) Whether businesses have made the change or not, it's important to remember the process requires more than just a new card reader. Business owners also need to prepare their staff for the eventual alteration. 

Recognition of the chip
Even after merchants have implemented chip-reading point of sale systems, employees could still encounter credit cards that have the magnetic stripe without a chip. It's important for workers to be able to recognize an EMV card versus a traditional magnetic stripe version. This will help them instruct customers on the proper procedure for processing the transaction. The chip itself is a small, gold square usually placed above the numbers on the front of the card, and below the issuer's name. When employees see this chip on a card, they can instruct the cardholder on the proper steps to complete the transaction.

The education behind it
Even though consumers received new cards in the mail - most likely with information on the change - some may still not understand what the chip actually does. Business owners need to inform their employees about EMV so employees can share it with curious customers. The most important information to know: Starting Oct. 1, 2015, merchants may be held liable for certain fraud related chargebacks if they process chip cards on a terminal that is not EMV-enabled. Consumers should also know that the chips in their new credit cards is the technology that makes the card more secure than traditional cards. 

The process itself
The steps to process a transaction with an EMV card are much different than a traditional payment card. In the past, customers simply had to swipe their magnetic stripe card and sign for the purchase to be complete. With the new system, however, clients must enter the chipped card into the terminal, and leave it there for the duration of the transaction.

While this is the more common situation, some merchants have introduced contactless POS solutions, where clients have to simply wave or tap the chipped card over the unit to be read. (2) Either way, it's important for people to know to keep their cards out for the entire purchase process to ensure all information is transferred without error.

Pin versus signature
EMV cards come with two options for verification: pin and signature. While the latter is more common in the U.S., the former is always a possibility. (3) Certain POS systems, however, may be able to handle only one of the two methods. It's critical for merchants to take that fact into consideration when making the change to an EMV-enabled reader.

Business owners should make employees aware of these two options, as well as how to process and handle each case. If companies do utilize a system that can take either a PIN-verified card or a signature-accepted version, workers should be trained with a talk track - a breakdown of common questions and answers - for consumer interactions.

Making the switch
Many merchants are still weighing the costs, risks and benefits of EMV compliance. Many worry about the additional expense to purchase or upgrade to new equipment, as well as the maintenance or support required for these systems. However, as more consumers being using chip cards, merchants will be greater pressed to begin using an EMV compatible system. 

Companies can manage their costs by taking advantage of the deals EMV-compliant POS providers and the Payment Card Industry are offering. Both are helping merchants by allowing them to trade in their old systems for new terminals at a discounted rate or waive their annual audit if organizations make the switch. (4)

Merchants have a lot to consider when it comes to implementing EMV chip-card technology. There are many POS providers that will help companies maintain compliance with these standards, while also offering the equipment at a lower rate to save businesses money. But the expense isn't all entrepreneurs have to focus on. Companies also have to make sure their employees are educated on EMV and all its intricacies. From recognizing the chip to processing a transaction to aiding unknowing customers, workers must have a wide range of knowledge to be able to handle the method properly. However, with the proper education, the transition to EMV-enabled readers can be seamless.

  1. http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2015/09/30/chip-credit-card-deadline/73043464/
  2. http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2014/07/10/8-faqs-about-new-emv-credit-cards/
  3. http://digitaltransactions.net/news/story/Why-Signature-Authentication-Trumps-PINs-When-It-Comes-to-EMV-Credit-Cards
  4. http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/8087-emv-facts-and-myths.html

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