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Gas Stations Can Get a Jump on Widespread EMV Adoption

August 11, 2017

Across the U.S., millions of Americans have grown accustomed to using their EMV-based chip cards to make their everyday purchases, as merchants make the switch to modern ERP.

 

Across the U.S., millions of Americans have grown accustomed to using their EMV-based chip cards to make their everyday purchases, as merchants make the switch to modern ERP. However, the vast majority of those making the change are brick-and-mortar retailers and restaurants. Meanwhile, gas stations have largely not been part of this transition, in large part because they’re not yet required to do so.

Any type of business that has yet to switch to EMV may be wise to work with a point of sale reseller to find a solution that works for them and gets them up to speed with the rest of the merchant industry.

Gas stations won’t be required to change their payment processing systems over to the newer EMV platform until October 2020, even as the vast majority of medium and large businesses in the U.S. are expected to do the same before the end of this year, according to Minneapolis television station WCCO. There are numerous benefits to making such a switch in today’s environment, including meeting consumer expectations and reducing fraud, but nearly all gas pumps across the country still use traditional credit card swiping, rather than the much safer and increasingly ubiquitous EMV.

Nearly all gas pumps still rely on traditional credit card swiping.Nearly all gas pumps still rely on traditional credit card swiping.

Why Switching Soon Makes Sense
Of course, that 2020 date is only the last point at which liability for fraud on card-present purchases will shift to gas stations, but experts say the sooner they start that process, the better off they will be, according to Payment Week. This is because once merchant EMV adoption became widespread, card-present fraud shifted to gas stations somewhat en masse. Indeed, in the second quarter alone, the cost of bogus gas purchases could hit as much as $10 million nationwide, and that’s a trend that’s only likely to continue as more brick-and-mortar merchants upgrade their POS systems.

To that end, though, it might also be important not only for gas stations to look into their options for upgrading – so they can avoid fraud themselves – but for the companies behind the EMV migration to make it easier for them to take that step, the report said. Any efforts to smooth the path toward universal EMV processing will be a benefit to everyone in the payments ecosystem.

Another hurdle
However, one potential stumbling block here is that there are still many business owners and consumers who have misconceptions about EMV, according to the Gaston Gazette. While there have been frustrations with the speed of an EMV purchase, or its perceived convenience, more people are using these cards every day, and companies are working behind the scenes to make these purchases just as easy to complete as traditional swipe-based transactions.

Merchants still on the fence about EMV adoption, and not encouraged by reducing potential fraud costs, might find that consumers’ expectations are a good motivator here. Almost every cardholder in the U.S. now has at least one EMV card in their wallets, and that number is only likely to grow in the near future.

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