What Small Businesses Need to Know About EMV

If your small business isn’t yet prepared for the EMV liability shift deadline, you’re not alone. Recently, we surveyed small businesses about their chip card sentiments and found that just over half of respondents won’t be EMV-ready by Oct. 1, when businesses that haven’t upgraded their payment terminals will be liable for fraud. Another 37 percent of respondents currently don’t plan to upgrade even beyond the deadline.

That said, 63 percent of survey respondents also revealed that experiencing the effects of fraud liability might get them on board with EMV, and 47 percent of those respondents would be swayed if it cost $100 or less. No matter where you stand as a small business, here are five things you need to know about EMV—including why making the switch before Oct. 1 is so important.

Here’s a Primer on the EMV Basics

EMV chip cards are widely accepted outside of the United States, and now major credit card companies have set Oct. 1, 2015 as the “liability shift” deadline in the US. Unlike magnetic-stripe cards used to make credit card payments until now, EMV cards contain an embedded chip that communicates with payment terminals, using a unique code each time and offering higher standards for authentication, so hackers can’t access cardholders’ data.

EMV Isn’t Just a Solution for Large Retailers

The most recent edition of the National Small Business Association’s technology survey shows that almost half of survey participants had been targeted by hackers. The average cost of damage control for those small businesses was $8,700. Bigger businesses might make headlines when a breach occurs, but that doesn’t mean they’re the only companies cyber criminals are after, and it certainly doesn’t mean they’re the only retailers that should upgrade to EMV.

You Should Be Ready for Some Changes at the Checkout

When it comes to processing EMV transactions, cashiers should be prepared to answer some common customer questions and recognize when a shopper is paying with a chip card. It is important to be sure the card is fully inserted until it clicks to ensure the terminal can read the chip. The most obvious change is the need to dip a card into a slot at the bottom of the payment terminal, not swipe it. Another thing to note: Processing EMV transactions takes a few seconds longer than purchases via magnetic stripe. Cashiers should be ready for questions about this extra time and ensure customers that this new, more secure payment method is worth the wait.

Being EMV-Ready Can Also Mean Being Mobile-Ready

Adding new technology to your retail repertoire might feel like a big undertaking for small business owners, but EMV presents an opportunity to get even more out of that upgrade decision. Retailers that switch to an EMV-ready terminal that also accepts NFC payments like Android Pay and Apple Pay. These “tap to pay” platforms are growing in popularity, and a recent report from Deloitte predicts in-store mobile payment usage will increase by 100 times by the end of 2015. If you’re not convinced of the EMV benefits just yet, upgrade for the benefits of accepting mobile payments. Consider the extra peace of mind each time a customer dips their card instead of swiping it to be a bonus.

Still Want to Know More? Here are Some Helpful Resources:

  • We’ve created an EMV Hub to answer all your questions and get your business started with accepting this payment method before the liability shift deadline.
  • Ready to take on some heavier reading? EMVCo’s “Guide to EMV Chip Technology” should answer even your most technical questions on the topic.
  • Curious about the full results of our small business EMV survey? Check out more of what small businesses had to say.

How is your small business preparing for EMV? Send us a tweet @Cayan and let us know!