EMV Capable Card Readers: Capable vs. Ready

What is the difference between EMV-capable and EMV-ready?
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To take advantage of the EMV revolution in card payments, your store needs to be both EMV-capable and EMV-ready. The difference is having the right hardware, the card reader (with the EMV slot), and having the reader working with the processing application that facilitates EMV transactions.

The Importance of Being EMV-Ready

The EMV standard offers a more secure method of processing credit and debit cards. The complex authentication process substantially reduces the chances of fraudulent use of card data. EMV is becoming more common in stores across the United States, as October 1, 2015, marked the liability switch. Since that date, retailers who don't upgrade face a higher probability of bearing the liability for fraud and other losses.

Almost three-quarters of consumers say having a chip card would make them want to use their card more often. A similar proportion expects to use a chip card at merchants today.

To take advantage of the benefits these chipped cards offer, while protecting yourself from the downside of not jumping on-board, EMV-capable terminals must be paired with a processor that supports EMV technology.

EMV-Capable and EMV-Ready

Being EMV-capable means your card reading machine is equipped with the hardware and has the capability to handle a chip card transaction. Your card reader must have the slot to accept EMV cards (check in front or on top).

To be EMV-ready means you have updated your processing application so your EMV-capable terminal can work with EMV transactions. It's when you have the hardware, and the card reader, working in-sync with the proper processing application, that you are EMV-ready.

The supplier of your card reader will have what you need to get both EMV-capable and EMV-ready.

If We Update to EMV Technology, Will Older Cards Still Work?

EMV cards are designed to be "backward compatible”, complete with the same magnetic data strip you find in older cards. That means the EMV-capable machines must still allow customers to "swipe" like they always have. This way consumer spending at stores is not disrupted, and you have time to adjust to the new payment environment.

Older-style transactions can still be completed, and cards can still be swiped, just without the added level of transaction security.

EMV-Ready on Mobile Payment Devices

Mobile payment devices such as PayAnywhere Mobile are also in the process of being upgraded to the EMV system. As with in-store credit card terminals, many credit card processors are swapping out old terminals with EMV-capable terminals upon request. These new terminals are often free, so the merchant doesn’t pay for a terminal twice in the course of processing with a company.

Until retailers who use mobile payment systems upgrade, EMV cards can be "swiped" in the usual way, but without the special encryption and transaction security the chip brings.