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Are Your Customers Affected By the EMV Initiative?

April 16, 2017

Are Your Customers Affected By the EMV Initiative?

A Vision Critical 2014 survey of adult consumers in the United States revealed that 64 percent were more likely to pay with cash in light of recent security breaches. And about the same number of survey respondents believed using a credit or debit card with an integrated microchip rather than a magnetic stripe would result in improved transaction security.

Data from countries already implementing the EMV Initiative seems to back them up. Canada's shift to EMV chip cards in 2013 has already paid dividends for merchants. Interac reports debit card fraud losses sit at a record low, falling to $29.5 million in 2013 from a high of $142 million just four years earlier.

But merchants and banks in the United States have been slow to the party, and now face a compressed timeline to migrate from magnetic stripe to chip cards. EMVCo data show just 0.03% of transactions in the US between July, 2013 and June, 2014 were EMV chip-enabled.

That means the EMV Initiative affects virtually all of your customers. And they need your help.

What You Need to Know About the EMV Initiative

Created as a technology standard aimed at reducing payment fraud, the EMV Initiative is also designed to ensure worldwide compatibility for card payments. While not a mandate, as of October 1, 2015, payment processors are encouraging US EMV adoption through a liability shift. Merchants can still complete a transaction with a swipe and a signature. But if the payment card is chip-enabled, fraud liability moves to the merchant.

As compared to credit cards with a magnetic stripe, so-called "smart," or chip and PIN cards carry multiple layers of security; reducing fraud by encrypting data, preventing unauthorized transactions, and making cards harder to counterfeit. And once larger numbers of transactions in the United States migrate to chip cards, the likelihood that EMV cards can be cloned as mag stripe cards and used for fraudulent transactions declines significantly.

How You Can Help Your Customers Succeed With the EMV Initiative

As a VAR, you've probably been tracking and anticipating the EMV Initiative for some time. But your customers are busy running their businesses, and may not be up to speed. That's where you come in.

Start a conversation with your customers and find out where they are in the process. You'll want to get information about existing hardware and software, both front-end and back-end. Here are three places to start.

1. Evaluate whether current POS hardware is getting the job done

Upgrading terminals for EMV compliance is the perfect time to add NFC and mobile payment functionality, with the added benefit of improving customer service and increasing sales. And it's a great opportunity to ensure your customer is happy with every piece of hardware.

2. Recommend system audits to pinpoint deficiencies

Areas like wireless connectivity, and software functionality are integral to the success of the upgraded system. And since more data flows during an EMV-compliant transaction than one from a mag stripe card, merchants will need to accommodate those messages. By providing these audits, your customer will see exactly how the system is performing and understand the need for upgrades.

3. Provide guidance in hardware disposal

Many pieces of hardware include toxic materials and can't just be thrown away. Businesses may be able to donate, recycle, or even sell outdated equipment. You can help your customers in disposing of hardware and ensuring compliance with any applicable governmental regulations.

The date for EMV compliance is approaching quickly and there's no time to waste. What else do you need to know about the EMV Initiative?


Stephen Bochniarz leads Ingram Micro’s DC/POS Payments Program.  He has been part of the DC/POS division at Ingram Micro since 2013, specializing in POS hardware.  Stephen has also become the subject expert on EMV readiness and supporting the payment terminals in support of payments and EMV implementation process. With over 12 years of experience, he has a strong background in retail, and retail management.

Have questions or want to learn more? Contact Stephen at:

Phone: +1-800-456-8000 Ext. 67366
Email: Stephen.Bochniarz@Ingrammicro.com