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EMV and Your Attractions Venue

Updated: November 26, 2018 | EMV | Share on LinkedIn

by Jerry Lake, product manager

It’s like a roller coaster, merry-go-round and funhouse in one.

While certainly not amusing, the EMV-compliance ride in the U.S. has had its share of ups and downs, spinning in circles and distortion of perceptions. Here are the highlights of what you need to know and how it does or doesn’t affect your business.

The Rise and Fall of the “Shift in Liability” Date

Like the peak of a roller coaster, October 1, 2015, marked the pinnacle of the EMV shift in liability from banks to merchants who didn’t fully adopt the international standard for processing chip-equipped credit and debit cards. It was a day – similar to the Y2K bug in the Year 2000 – that caused nervous anticipation. In reality, it ended up being far less significant than most thought it would be.

As of October 1, only a fraction of the payment cards in circulation had chips in them. On top of that, a majority of the payment processors (the entities that allow you and fellow merchants to accept credit and debit cards as payment) were still not fully EMV-certified.

Around and Around We Go

So now that we have an “official” shift in liability, you might be wondering how this impacts your operations. First off, whether you have or haven’t yet adopted EMV, some things don’t change.

For example, many merchants report that even prior to October 1, they were found liable with the majority of fraud-related chargebacks. If this is true at your business, this shift in liability most likely won’t significantly change your actual exposure regardless of EMV compliance.

Additionally, EMV is explicitly for Cardholder Present transactions. However, Cardholder Not Present fraud (aka online transactions) is more common. So that issue doesn’t go away.

However, these points aside, there are additional benefits of adopting EMV at your point of sale: data security, reduced scope for PCI PA-DSS compliance and the ability to accept Near Field Communication or “contactless” payments such as Apple Pay™ and Google Wallet.

Many of the recent data breaches in the U.S. have exploited security weaknesses in POS systems (whether the PCs or software) to capture credit card data that passed through. So it follows that if you can prevent the POS from ever having access to sensitive card data, there’d be nothing for the hackers to get. This is exactly what some implementations of EMV support – the ability to keep this sensitive data out of your system.

Your venue must weigh EMV adoption benefits with other factors including the expense of purchasing EMV-compliant hardware. You have to have an EMV terminal at every point where you accept credit cards as well as an additional Ethernet connection at each payment terminal. These costs can add up and if your current fraud losses are lower than the cost to adopt EMV, you may want to delay moving forward.

Making Your Way through the EMV Maze

With so many variables and nuances to EMV, you’ll want to tap the expertise of your software provider or consult with another who has been delivering EMV-compliant solutions to customers throughout the world.

Such a resource should help you determine the pros and cons of EMV adoption, recommend EMV-ready hardware solutions and how to offer an EMV-ready payment solution at your venue.

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