Have you ever heard the term EMV terminal before? It’s not a trick question, and don’t feel bad if your answer is “no.”
Simply put, it’s a credit card processing machine for our new, more secure EMV credit and debit cards.
EMV is the label of a new form of payment system. It’s new, in the United States anyway, as of about 2015. All other major markets in the world have been using this system for several years now.
Another name for this payment system you may have heard is “smart card” or “chip and PIN card.” This system is very similar to our credit card processing ways we know and love here in the States, with a couple of minor differences…
- It’s more secure (discussed below)
- Instead of a quick swipe of the card through the reader, now you insert it (or “dip” it) and wait a few seconds.
Well, OK, there is a contact-less reading method, too… just a quick tap of your card against the reader and you’re done… the wave of the future, man.
The cards used for this payment system look nearly identical to the ones we use now. They have magnetic stripes on the back, the name of the user on the front, and the card number with expiration date.
But there’s one small but significant difference: there is a small micro computer chip embedded in the left face of the card which does all the work.
This microchip is extremely important for the credit card account owner. It holds all of their sensitive information in cryptic code and makes it nearly impossible to access by others. It also creates a unique transaction code for every purchase made.
This “dynamic data,” as it’s called, is especially effective in stopping would-be criminals from copying the information from the point-of-sale transaction to make fraudulent purchases. Because each transaction’s information exchange is unique, the criminal’s attempt to use it in another illegal transaction would be declined.
No longer do we have a magnetic stripe on which all the user’s financial information is stored and used to process the card. Well, we do still, but they’re backwards compatible and being phased out as we make the transition to EMV technology. Which means you’ll be seeing a lot more EMV terminals… pretty much everywhere.
These traditional magstripe cards are easily copied, making the card account owner’s information an easy target for fraudsters.
Equipment is available on the black market which criminals use to scan credit cards and copy all the information stored on them. It makes it quite easy for them to gain access to credit card accounts and use them for their own devious purposes.
EMV smart cards have taken security to a much higher level than previously seen by consumers and businesses. But in order for customers to be able to use their new, safer payment cards, the shops and retailers they frequent must accept their EMV cards.
And in fact, as of October 1st, 2015, all businesses are required to be EMV compliant. Meaning, they be equipped to accept chip and PIN cards.
And business owners need to accept this is reality! 😉
Whether you own a small mom and pop type shop or restaurant or a large retail chain, you need to have the proper equipment to handle EMV card payments.
The shift started in 2014. And 2015 has seen a massive increase in smart cards issued to consumers, to the tune of 600 million.
As a business, in order to accept these payments (and be EMV compliant), you need to change out your out of date payment terminals and credit cards machines and upgrade to the new, required EMV payment terminals and machines.
If you’re not EMV compliant, you are liable for the cost of any fraudulent payment which occurs with an EMV card at your establishment.
These new machines are similar in appearance to existing payment terminals, with one small difference. They have a built-in slot where you insert your card into.
This“dipping” we were talking about earlier…
Once you’ve “dipped” your card into the reader, the terminal “talks” to the microchip. This communication between the two is how the card is verified as legitimate and the transaction can proceed.
It takes a few moments longer for the process to complete, and you need to leave your card in the reader until it gives you the signal to remove it.
If you happen to take it out too soon, chances are the transaction will be cancelled and you will have to start the process again.
Many new cards being issued will eventually be PIN activated only. With this type of card, the customer will be required to enter their PIN number (known only to them) in order to use the card.
At the moment, however, new EMV cards are still equipped with a magnetic stripe for swiping and signature authorization. This is meant to help with the transition to new chip cards and also so customers can still use terminals which have not been switched over yet.
It will take some time for retailers and businesses across the country to switch out their existing hardware for the new EMV terminals, even though the deadline was October 1st, 2015. Because of this, customers still need the option to swipe their cards while businesses make the change.
There may be some software changes which will also need to occur for your business to accept these cards. It all depends on what type of POS system your business is currently using.
Guess what… we’ve got all the answers for you! Just give us a call and we’re happy to talk with you about it.
One of the best ways to help with your business’ transition to these new EMV terminals is to train your staff on how transactions are conducted.
The process is very simple and not very different from how we do it now. But the last thing you need is for one of your employees to be caught in the middle of a transaction without knowing how to direct the customers to use the terminal correctly.
Long lines aren’t fun for anyone. Especially your customers! Find out more by callingRedFynn at 888-510-9871.