If you haven’t yet become EMV certified because you felt the process was too long, too costly and/or too complicated, don’t despair – help is on the way! The transition from traditional magstripe credit cards to EMV chip cards was promised to make payment card shopping safer for both the consumer and the merchant, but for some merchants, it’s been a headache to implement. Merchants have complained that their transition to EMV has been delayed by certification bottlenecks, which unfortunately has resulted in some of them having to pay for fraudulent transactions even though they have the proper equipment in place that would allow them to accept EMV cards. Recently, Visa and MasterCard announced they will speed up the certification process for checkout terminals, make it more cost-effective to install EMV machines and implement better terms for merchants by limiting costs they may incur as a result of fraudulent/counterfeit transactions.
As a merchant, if you are not EMV ready, you bear the financial responsibility of fraudulent transactions, if the fraudster used an EMV chip-embedded payment card. Visa has stated that with their new certification process, merchants will now only be responsible for up to 10 fraudulent transactions, also known as chargebacks, a month, and that counterfeit transactions below $25 will not be charged to merchants. The cost of these fraudulent low-dollar-amount transactions would once again revert back to the card-issuing bank. The banks would also assume responsibility for any chargebacks over the merchant’s 10-transaction-per-month limit. Visa says these changes could result in a 40 percent reduction of chargebacks.
However, before you can begin to accept EMV cards, the machines must be tested and certified, and Visa is simplifying that process, too, saying that is has streamlined its testing requirements to greatly reduce the three things merchants have complained about most regarding EMV implementation – complexity, time and cost. These changes have the potential to reduce the time it normally takes for certification from as long as a couple of weeks down to just a few hours.
Visa and MasterCard are also working to speed up the actual transaction time of an EMV card transaction. Currently, the EMV card must be inserted into the EMV payment terminal and left there for the duration of the transaction in order to get an authorization, which could take one to three seconds longer than a traditional magstripe card transaction. Those seconds may not sound like much, but when there is a line of customers waiting to pay and each transaction is taking two or three times longer than they used to take, that could add several minutes to a customer’s wait time, adding to their frustrations and that of the merchants. Visa’s Quick Chip and MasterCards’ MChip do not require consumers to leave the card in the EMV terminal throughout the transaction, a process that Visa claims is shaving 18 seconds off the transaction process. However, some experts are wondering if that is just putting a band aid on the issue. The shortened transaction times may involve putting a temporary “hold” on a customer’s funds until the full authorization goes through – which will still take as long as it does now – and could result in overdraft fees.
With these recent announcements from Visa and MasterCard, there is no reason for you to delay EMV certification, if you haven’t already gone through the process. EMV helps to protect your customers – and you – from fraudulent transactions and can even reduce data breaches by encrypting transaction information, rendering it useless to hackers. As EMV cards become more prevalent and more customers begin using them, it will become more important than ever to make the transition to EMV terminals. Making the change today ensures you and your customers are protected now and in the future.