In 2015, we dedicated a significant amount of blog space to the topic of EMV chip card technology. Our intention was to cover the chargeback liability shift deadline of October 2015 to help merchants and business owners understand the options and the risks. That deadline is long passed. What remains in its wake is a mix of improved security, clerk and consumer confusion, and the realization that we’ve got a way to go to achieve the consumer experience we desire.
Improved security…sort of
EMV chip cards and the POS terminals to support them are slowly beginning to show up in retail locations around the country. But recent polls point to the fact that more than half of retailers do not have EMV capable technology in place and have no plan to get it in the next 12 months.
Experts are citing the lack of understanding as a leading reason for the lag. The consumer base in this country is still largely unaware of what an EMV chip card is and how it can protect them. Merchants who believe they are at minimal risk of chargebacks due to strong customer relationships are leading the ‘business as usual’ pack. Other merchants who engage in Card Not Present transactions, such as online or phone-in purchases, round out the group of non-adopters.
Confusion reigns the land
As we mentioned above, lack of understanding is a key factor in EMV chip card use on both sides of the checkout lane. Clerks and consumers alike are sharing a sense of frustration. And the mixed POS technology landscape isn’t helping. Confusion is resulting from a couple of situations:
-Retailer does not have EMV technology – can I use my chip card or not? Do I still swipe it?
-Retailer has EMV technology that is not active – can I use my chip card or not? What’s the point?
-Retailer has fully functioning EMV technology – how do I use this thing? You mean my card has a chip?
-Retailer has fully functioning EMV technology – do I have to sign or don’t I?
-Consumer removes the chip card too soon, requiring the clerk to reset the entire transaction
-Chip card transaction times are longer than swipe transactions
This melting pot of technology means a learning curve that is different for every retailer a consumer visits.
A brighter horizon
The good news on the EMV chip card horizon is that progress is being made. The fact is EMV chip cards are an improvement in security over the swipe card technology. And as more consumers are introduced to the chip card, the experience at the point of sale will become more familiar and less frustrating. Merchants need to step up as well to make the retail POS process more universal.
If you are one of those merchants who is a bit behind on EMV technology upgrade, give us a call. We’ll eliminate the confusion and get you up and running quickly.