Why should merchants make the EMV switch early?

Category: Payment Processing Technologies

In the past six-plus months, the EMV liability switch for tier-one merchants has been on the minds of many in the retail industry. This is because, even if they aren't included in that group, they know that a liability shift will eventually come for them as well. For this reason, experts say it might be wise for merchants of all sizes to get out in front of the coming requirements and simply adopt EMV now, but there is resistance on that front for a number of reasons.

One of the biggest one often hears about when dealing with these issues is that merchants feel there's no real need to upgrade from their current point-of-sale devices, which continue to work just fine, according to a report from the Huffington Post. Smaller businesses in particular might object to paying potentially hundreds of dollars for a new EMV-enabled POS terminal, but what many may not realize is that their current devices are perfectly capable of accepting such payments.

More businesses should be making the switch to EMV, before they're required to do so.More businesses should be making the switch to EMV, before they're required to do so.

Why is that the case?
Data suggests that there are as many as 5 million point-of-sale devices capable of accepting an EMV transaction, but that only 20 percent of them are actually ready to do so, the report said. That's because many companies haven't done something as simple as update the software on their card readers, meaning that their abilities to complete safer transactions capable of significantly reducing instances of fraud will remain latent.

And anecdotal evidence further suggests that the reason for this big disparity between EMV-capable retailers and retailers actually accepting these payments is that many owners might not know they have that power in the first place, the report said. Many may not know how to upgrade the software, or even that upgrades are available. But even beyond that, some smaller businesses may not know how to go through the process of getting their point-of-sale devices certified by payment processing giants like Visa and MasterCard.

Customer complaints remain a major issue
Meanwhile, many consumers have long since had the opportunity to use EMV when they visit major national merchants, and the results have been mixed in some ways. These transactions currently take several times longer to complete than swiping a credit or debit card in the traditional manner, and can therefore be frustrating for shoppers who don't know about the added security benefits EMV provides.

And while many small business owners may have heard of those frustrations - or even experienced them for themselves - there's good news on the horizon. Visa and MasterCard are both now developing far faster EMV processing technology that will speed up each transaction and hopefully dispel many of those difficulties going forward.

The fact is that the sooner EMV is adopted by smaller companies, the better off they, their customers, and the industry's payment processors will be. Bringing more security to the payments ecosystem in this way will have a massive depressive effect on fraudulent purchases, saving everyone headaches and money.