For the first time in decades, the payment-card acceptance landscape in the US retail industry is facing major change. With consumer identity theft a rising problem and major concern, and a string of data breaches hitting both high-profile, multinational corporations and smaller enterprises, the retail sector is wising up to the fact that yesterday's magnetic card stripes are no longer adequate to protect customer data. Numerous European and Asian countries have already adopted the EMV PIN-and-chip standard for card security. As your clients prepare to adopt EMV, consider using the following steps to smooth the way.
Work with card issuers to get to know the standard
The EMV standard is a joint effort governed by Europay, MasterCard, and Visa. As such, the card issuers themselves are a powerful resource for acquiring the initial knowledge needed to plan an effective migration. EMV will require a rethinking and revamping of existing infrastructure. Help your clients sort through the information and various pilot programs offered by the issuers and the EMVco, the body that governs adoption of the EMV specification through the joint efforts of American Express, Discover, JCB, MasterCard, UnionPay, and Visa. Some programs require a more extensive initial investment than others, which may or may not pay off in the long run, depending on the client's needs.
Determine if the initial EMV rollout will include NFC technology
The most common implementation of EMV does not require contactless cards and the attendant near-field communication (NFC) technology, but it does pave the way for NFC, and that is something that your clients will have to consider. There are already a number of contactless payment cards in use within the US, and in the coming years, the need for contactless infrastructure will continue to grow—but for your clients, the need may not be there yet. Work with your clients in order to determine whether contactless NFC cards and infrastructure are investments they should make now or down the road.
Develop a plan for consumer education
On the client side, one of the most critical hurdles to a smooth EMV adoption will be consumer education. While the EMV standard has been embraced in numerous countries around the world, it has not advanced at the same pace in the US market, and consumer inertia may create resistance to the transition. Consumers may raise objections to a comparative lack of infrastructure available to enable EMV PIN-and-chip card use, for example, or may not be aware of the benefits of EMV technology with regard to fraud prevention. Assist your clients in developing a sound communication strategy in order to educate their customers on the standard that the client is adopting.
Unlike many other trending technologies, EMV is not one whose adoption is in doubt. Rather, it is a globally accepted standard for payment-card security and is moving closer to being a requirement within the US. Are your clients ready to provide EMV-compliant cards or terminals? If not, you are in a strong position to get them there and reap the benefits for your business.
Still not sure where to begin? Speak to an Ingram Micro security expert today to get started.