EMV rollout guidelines updated again

Category: Payment Processing Technologies

Since the EMV liability shift first occurred toward the end of last year, there has been a slow but steady rate of adoption among retailers across the country. However, there has also been some confusion as to the various aspects of that rollout, and as such many merchants may not always know how best to proceed when obtaining an EMV-enabled point-of-sale device. With this in mind, the U.S. Payments Forum, which was previously known as the EMV Migration Forum, has released some new guidelines to help in this process.

The newly published EMV Minimum Requirements Matrix helps to outline the means by which merchants can adopt EMV, and was recently altered to highlight the faster transaction processes now being rolled out by the nation's largest payment processors, according to the U.S. Payments Forum. This should help companies to better understand not only what they need to do as they move to EMV capability, but also how best they can get to that point in the first place.

"The document does not highlight a one-size-fits-all roadmap."

What to consider
While the document tells merchants what they will need to meet the minimum requirements for EMV processing, it does not highlight a one-size-fits-all roadmap for deployment, the report said. Instead, those companies will need to consider each aspect of the requirements carefully to get a better understanding of each it would actually mean for them.

"Having the most current minimum requirements for chip implementation compiled in one place provides a starting point for merchants and acquirers in their chip deployments, whether they plan to implement all of the features or choose a simpler deployment such as the new faster EMV specifications," said Randy Vanderhoof, director of the U.S. Payments Forum. "This resource is just one example of how the U.S. Payments Forum and its members will continue to provide guidance on the most critical aspects of the chip migration."

Stumbling blocks remain
However, a number of major factors may still be hindering a broader EMV rollout, and often these aren't something over which merchants themselves can exert much control, according to Payments Source. For instance, many retailers may balk at the cost of updated POS devices that can handle both magnetic stripe and chip-and-PIN transactions, and those that are not yet required to accept the latter type of purchases under the liability shift may still be on the fence.

In addition, even those that have made the initial investment in new card readers often find themselves in tricky situations, the report said. That's because many continue to wait in the certification systems from anywhere between two and four major payment processors, meaning that while they have the technological capability to accept such a purchase, they're not allowed to do so for a period of what could be several months.

With all this in mind, though, merchants should remember that the liability shift is coming for their business, regardless of size, and getting out in front of industry standard requirements now will likely reduce the growing pains later on.