“The United States is the largest and most fragmented card market to go to EMV,” says Julie Conroy, research director with the Aite Group. That complexity, especially in the way that debit cards are processed, combined with a lack of action by business owners and delays in EMV certification, has contributed to a slower transition than expected.
But as a value-added reseller (VAR), you want to focus on how the EMV transition stands today. That way, you can provide as much guidance and support as possible for your clients.
So what can you learn from the EMV transition so far that will help smooth the path for business owners who have not yet upgraded at the point of sale?
1. Expect delays
When you’re working with clients on EMV upgrades, realize from the start that the project will most likely face delays along the way. The timeline isn’t always dictated by you or your customer. But that doesn’t mean you can’t control much of the outcome.
Educate your client from the start, helping them create a realistic plan for transitioning point-of-sale hardware and software to EMV. Then if (or when) certification delays occur, your customer will still have plenty of time for installation and testing while meeting the target completion date.
2. Focus on integration
You know from experience that adding or upgrading hardware at the point of sale isn’t just plug and play. While most new terminals in the marketplace have chip-enabled card slots already, the hardware needs updated firmware and compatible software. That’s why it’s important to identify integration issues early in the planning process.
Evaluating existing hardware and software before recommending new components will prevent compatibility issues and ensure a higher level of payment security.
As you help clients integrate chip technology, it’s also a good time to discuss other opportunities to secure and modernize the point-of-sale system. For example, EMV adoption can be a gateway to expanded payment options like mobile wallets and contactless payments.
3. Support is key
It goes without saying that your role as a VAR includes plenty of customer support. But it’s especially important during this EMV transition.
Many of your current and future customers may not fully support or understand the need for this change. But no matter their viewpoint, further delay will have a negative effect on relationships with card-processing partners and customers and will most likely incur unnecessary financial penalties.
You’ll probably serve as both a guide and a sounding board during EMV adoption. By listening to customer concerns and frustrations and creating a solid upgrade plan, your clients will chart a path toward a more secure payments infrastructure.
How has your perspective on the EMV transition changed over the past year?