Leader or Laggard? When and Why Small Businesses Are Preparing for EMV

Last month, we surveyed 344 small business owners and managers at companies with less than 50 employees that accept credit and debit cards. We wanted to learn more about whether they’re implementing EMV technology, also known as chip-and-PIN or chip-and-signature cards, and what factors will lead them to change their business practices.

Here’s what we learned:

EMV-Readiness Still Not Widespread

With the EMV deadline just three months away, a full 37 percent of small businesses don’t accept EMV cards and don’t plan to do so by October, or in the future. This may cause significant problems when the liability shift takes place on October 1, 2015.

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What is your level of preparedness for EMV?

What it Will Take to Get Small Businesses Onboard

The question now is: What will it take to get these small businesses on board with EMV? Our study reveals that the top two factors that will push people to upgrade are: the expense of fraud and the specter of customer complaints.

While too many small businesses currently have no plans to become EMV-capable, that’s likely to change following the October 1 liability shift, once they start being held responsible for fraudulent credit card transactions.

Of the small businesses with no plans to accept EMV cards, 63 percent said that covering fraud would drive them to become EMV-capable, with 47 percent becoming EMV-capable after covering as little as $100 or less in fraud.

What amount of fraud would drive you as an SMB to become EMV-capable?

The High Cost of Fraud

Moreover, 60 percent of business couldn’t bounce back if they were required to cover a fraudulent charge out-of-pocket over $500. With the average merchant suffering 133 fraudulent transactions in 2014, small businesses unprepared for the EMV deadline could be in big trouble.

What amount of fraud could you recover from?

No One Wants Complaints

Fraud isn’t the only EMV tipping point for small businesses, though. Of the small businesses with no plans to accept EMV cards, 57 percent would become EMV-capable if consumers complained enough about not being able to dip their EMV chip cards. It won’t take many complaints, either. A full 40 percent said they’d upgrade after receiving five or fewer complaints per week.

How many customer complaints would drive you to upgrade to EMV?

What’s Next

We hope to see more and more small businesses making the decision to prepare for EMV before the October 1 deadline. With credit card fraud a significant and growing problem in the U.S., and one that’s increasingly relevant to small businesses, these types of businesses cannot afford to ignore the shift to EMV technology.

If you or your small business is looking for more info on how to become EMV ready, check out our EMV Resource Center for more tips, guidelines and information on this pressing topic.