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5 Steps to Help Your Customers Get Ready for the EMV Transition

June 16, 2017

As a VAR, you probably have customers that are racing against the clock to get as many EMV-ready POS systems installed, tested, and certified by Oct. 1, 2015. That's when payment processors such as MasterCard and Visa are shifting liability for fraudulent transactions to merchants and card issuers.

An industry research study projected 59 percent of business locations will be EMV-compliant by the end of 2015. Those numbers leave plenty of merchants vulnerable to significant fraud costs, especially those running small- and medium-sized businesses.

And as card issuers replace large numbers of consumer credit and debit cards with EMV cards, merchants must have the infrastructure in place to process these more secure payments.

It's not too late. Talk to your clients about the EMV transition, find out where they stand, and use these steps as a guide to help them upgrade their point-of-sale systems as quickly as possible.

1. Audit existing POS hardware

Producing an inventory list of current point-of-sale hardware helps you and your customers in the planning process. You'll better understand how they process payments and can suggest strategies to streamline transactions.

2. Create a replacement plan for the EMV transition

When upgrading and replacing POS hardware, you'll want to take some time to talk with your clients about future growth. What are they planning for the upcoming year, the next five years, or even the next 10? Based on this information, you can better recommend POS solutions that will flex and grow with the business.

Replacing MSRs with EMV-compliant readers is also a good time to add more units and features. The current generation of EMV terminals is also NFC-ready. That means consumers using Google Wallet, Apple Pay, and other mobile wallets can pay with just a mobile phone.

3. Evaluate software and wireless infrastructure

Transactions with EMV cards also require upgraded POS software and improvements in wireless technology due to changes in the transaction process.

When a customer "dips" an EMV card into the reader, updated software connects the terminal with the POS and guides the user through the transaction. Visa, MasterCard and the other card brands also require unique applications, called kernels, that manage card functionality at the POS.

Now is also a good time to evaluate the merchant's overall system connectivity. As compared with mag stripe technology, EMV transactions require additional data elements. And as many business owners add mPOS technology, wireless networks may need a boost.

4. Identify security gaps

With so many reports of data breaches and fraudulent transactions, security is on the mind of both business owners and customers. The good news is that card-present EMV transactions are much more secure than the old mag stripe standard. Following EMV implementation, countries around the world saw significant reductions in fraud, especially for transactions involving counterfeit cards.

But you'll still want to help your customers evaluate the security of every connection in the POS system. Penetration testing will spotlight vulnerabilities that might be exploited by fraudsters. And meeting PCI requirements ensures the safety of customer data.

5. Ask for help

With a change this significant for merchants, you don't want to go it alone. And you don't have to.

As a value-added-reseller, you have access to many educational resources about the EMV transition, including e-books, white papers, articles, and webinars. And when you or your clients have a question about hardware, software, or another part of the POS system, getting an answer is easy via email or phone.

Oct. 1 will be here sooner than you realize, so take this opportunity to check in with your customers and make sure they have all the help they need to get EMV-ready.

What is the most important step in helping customers get ready for the EMV transition?