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It’s October – What EMV means for your business

Agnes Sokol

Now that the Oct. 1, 2015 liability shift has gone into effect, EMV should be top of mind for merchants who accept credit cards.  Merchants who do not process chip-based credit cards with EMV-enabled card readers or POS systems may be liable for certain fraud-related chargebacks.  The liability shift marks a change in the way chargebacks have been handled in the past, and this major push by the card brands for adoption of EMV technology marks a significant shift in the industry.

For some retailers, in-store preparation for EMV began months ago. For others, the acronym remains an unclear concept. The intent of EMV is to minimize credit card counterfeiting and improve cardholder security by solving for lost, stolen or counterfeit cards at the POS. EMV chip cards look just like standard magnetic stripe cards, but contain a microprocessor, or chip, which enables every transaction to carry a unique cryptogram.  The data chip makes it nearly impossible for criminals to steal card information for counterfeit use.
 
While upgrading to EMV acceptance is voluntary for business owners, changing to an EMV-enabled POS system is an important step for merchants who want to reduce their financial liability for certain fraudulent transaction chargebacks.
  
Merchants who are unsure whether or not EMV technology is an urgent need for their business should first examine their chargeback history to see what impact those costs have on their business in relation to the cost of an EMV upgrade. Next, they should connect with their POS provider to discuss implementation options and find the best upgrade solutions for their business. It may be necessary to purchase software upgrades and any needed hardware.

Performing an EMV transaction is slightly different than with a magstripe card, so once EMV acceptance is enabled, it’s important to make sure all employees are trained so they can effectively assist customers who may be unfamiliar with the transaction flow.
 
During an EMV transaction, chip cards are dipped instead of swiped and must be held in the POS terminal for the length of the transaction. If the card is removed from the POS system before the transaction has been completed the purchase will be cancelled, so staff need to be aware of the proper procedure to help customers complete transactions successfully. Company owners should also stay in contact with their acquirers to ensure that any potential POS system problems can be quickly resolved and that all questions are addressed.

Merchants can have an active role in fighting fraudsters, limit potential chargeback liability, and build customer trust and loyalty by implementing EMV. And with consumers becoming increasingly concerned about fraud, businesses that accept EMV chip cards show their customers they take security seriously. 

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