EMV – A Journey to Learn From

The C-Store Industry Isn’t the Only One Struggling to Rollout EMV.
The following is re-posted from Convenience Store News.
Clearly there are more places where your EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa)chip card is being accepted, but there is still quite a road to travel before it is fully implemented.
Convenience petroleum retailers aren’t alone with so few stores live—card brands and issuers report only seeing 15-20% “chip-on-chip” transactions; the hospitality industry (lodging & restaurants) has many operational challenges to figure out, while the ATM industry—which has thousands of ATMS in c-stores—has its own liability shift approaching for MasterCard (Oct. 1, 2016).

The EMF

Although the EMV Migration Forum (EMF), formed as an independent, cross-industry organization to successfully introduce EMV, is changing its name to the US Payments Forum with an expanding charter to address the ever growing payment technologies they too recognize the need to still get EMV right.
For example, there is an active working group amongst EMF members preparing a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) specifically for the convenience petroleum industry. (I’ll keep you posted when it’s available). And, there will be much discussion about NFC (Near Field Communications) type transactions, which will be an important consideration as fuel dispenser upgrades are considered.

Learnings In Progress

At a recent EMF meeting, I heard about the real life experiences of the retailers who have implemented and gone live with EMV. One industry association leader called the PINPad prompts a “disaster” while several retailers responded and said they wished they had spent more time on this to talk through and understand all options with their point of sale system providers and acquirer/processors.
One retailer said they put too much reliance on an implementation technician for configuration options. Business teams learned, on the spot, at some retailers that “fallback” was no longer when the primary data communication connection to the network went offline, but rather when the chip isn’t read and you have your customer revert back to the mag stripe swipe.
Another association representative called chargebacks “contentious” while the cross section of payments stakeholders each have their own perceptions; from a surprising amount of small ticket fraudulent transactions that the card brands addressed but are curious to understand more about, to issuers who are happily passing on the liability, to merchants that have developed new systems and work processes to monitor, analyze and challenge chargebacks.

The Evolving Conversation

What prints on receipts, how much education employees need, the customer experience and perception of a slower checkout process, the certification process and its waiting queue, along with scope increases to help offset the cost of EMV-related upgrades are other areas that I heard the stakeholders talk about.
To work through some of these realities, another EMF working group has set out to clarify receipt printing requirements and the card brands have their ‘faster EMV’ plans with the distinct programs to improve the checkout and certification processes. Retailers have come to realize that their tactics need to be first business focused supported by technology.
Many of the things I heard at the EMF were new and important considerations that haven’t been part of discussions I’ve been in regarding EMV with convenience petroleum retailers. There’s a lot to be gained by listening and talking to others and as importantly ensuring your plans take into account the experiences others have been through. Reach out, by posting a comment below, if you want to continue the dialogue, and I will continue to brief you here and in other forums on developments as more c-store retailers implement EMV inside the store and begin developing plans for the liability shift on at the pump transactions in October 2017.
Ed Collupy, executive consultant at W. Capra Consulting Group can be reached at ecollupy@wcapra.com. Collupy has IT leadership and business team experience directing and supporting retail systems for store operations, merchandising, fuel and accounting teams in the c-store industry.