What Is EMV?
What is EMV? It’s an acronym for Europay, Mastercard, Visa, and it’s a new standard of security for credit card financial transactions which makes personal information more secure through modern day encryption science.
We are just beginning to see a massive shift here in the US in how we all use credit cards and the way businesses and companies accept credit cards.
Credit cards are so “smart” these days!
In Europe they have been using “smart” credit cards for several years now. While they look very similar to the magnetic stripe cards we are used to seeing and using here in the United States, there are a few small, yet significant differences between them.
Traditional, magnetic stripe cards (the ones we’re all used to) store the user’s information on the colored stripe which runs the length of the card on the top back of the card. Although this has been the generally accepted form of credit card for years, there have been some serious threats recently to the security of the users.
The major security breach with Target customers in 2013 in a prime example of the inadequate levels of security of these cards. But this is just one example of a security breach.
For example, in 2014 there were over 59 million breaches, and almost every single one of them was a small business. Of those millions? Only 43 total went public.
So, you see it’s a pretty common thing… and time to fix it!
It is simply too easy for a criminal or not so honest employee of a business to copy the information stored on these magnetic stripes.
Credit card readers are available on the black market which copy the information when the card is swiped through the reader. Criminals can then use this information to make fraudulent purchases as many times as they wish until the user catches on.
Hence the massive structural change to EMV technology.
As stated above, EMV stands for Europay, Mastercard, and Visa. These three companies developed the EMV standard. The EMV standard is what companies and businesses have to adhere to in order to accept chip card or smart card payments.
This standard is far more secure than traditional credit card processing and has proven to greatly reduce fraud in all other countries who use it.
The control of the standard is split between all the major credit card companies we are familiar with and a few European companies as well. The name of the consortium who distributes this control is called EMVCo. You should get very used to hearing and seeing this name because you’ll see it pop up more and more often.
EMV standards are the governing force behind the payment process for your customer. It is a set of rules for retailers and companies to follow when accepting chip card payments. It also helps the credit card companies and financial institutions determine who should be held liable if there is a case of fraud.
All businesses are required to be EMV compliant as of October 1, 2015. If you have yet to update your hardware or software to be EMV compliant, it’s time to do so!
Being EMV compliant you will not be held liable for the amount of goods stolen if someone uses a fraudulent smart card in your store. If you’re unable to process smart cards and a fraudster does this in your store, then you are liable for the amount.
There are a few things to know when getting your business ready.
Assess the situation of your current POS system. You will probably have to update or make changes to your hardware or software, or both, to be EMV ready.
Payment terminals will all eventually be required to have a chip and pin card slot for EMV card payments. If you are a small business, your bank or financial institution should provide you with an EMV card reader to replace your old one.
Talk to your bank, processor, credit card acquirer, and any other relevant stakeholder. They will be able to tell you what changes you need to make to your system.
If you haven’t switched over to EMV compliant hardware yet, time is of the essence! Come up with a timeline for accomplishing it so you aren’t hit with a huge financial load all at once. Obviously, the more you can get out of the way the better, but you also don’t want to hurt your business by not working it into your existing budget.
Switching to an EMV compliant hardware is a great way to make updates to your current payment system. You’ve probably seen a lot of coffee shops and other small businesses using either tablets or smartphone devices to accept payments.
You can use this change as a way to stay ahead of the game. Apple Pay is one of the newest payment systems available and uses contactless technology for performing transactions.
Chip cards can be enabled with wireless payment technology so customers only need to “tap” their card on a reader. It wirelessly transmits the necessary data to the terminal to conduct the authorization process.
While the main purpose of the EMV standard is to keep users’ information more secure, it isn’t a “cure all” answer to fraud. Be aware while it does up the ante considerably on security measures and makes it much more difficult for criminals to access personal information, it isn’t completely foolproof. There are still some cases of fraud out there with EMV smart card transactions.
Many of these are online threats, so if your business is conducted in part or in whole online, be aware of these threats and stay current on how best to be compliant with EMV standards for online merchants.
Lastly, educate your employees on EMV standards and the hardware involved for accepting smart card payments. Schedule training sessions for your check-out employees to learn how to conduct chip card transactions.
These transactions are very simple, and it’s good for them to know how to walk your customers through the chip card payment process. It isn’t a complicated process so they shouldn’t have a problem learning it.
If you have any more questions on what is EMV, give our ah-mazing customer service department a call at (888) 510-9871. We’re happy to talk with you about anything which secures your business and moves it forward!