U.S. Gets Serious About Adopting E.M.V.-Enabled Cards, Finally

Merchants the world over know the growing importance of the ability to accept credit cards for business. In the United States, flags have been going up in the business sector because the inevitable has arrived: the American payments industry is switching to E.M.V.-enabled technology. E.M.V. stands for Europay, MasterCard, and Visa, and it is the most used credit and bank card technology in Europe, Canada, Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, and the Middle East. It’s increasingly being used in Asia as well. The United States has been a striking exception to the E.M.V. trend, having chosen to keep magnetic-strip technology standard, but that is changing.

E.M.V.-enabled cards carry embedded chips that boost payment security. E.M.V. technology has been around for years, but it is newer and more fraud-resistant than the magnetic-strip technology that’s used the United States. If you’ve traveled abroad, you already know what a hassle it can be for foreign businesses to accept credit cards issued by U.S. banks on account of the outdated technology American cards still depend on. But the status quo is changing. Among American banks that have begun providing E.M.V. cards are Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Citi. The credit card industry is really promoting the switch, and American Express, MasterCard, Visa, and Discover have all made public their support and expectations for E.M.V. technology.

Owners of retail merchant accounts know that they are the ones who bear the cost of point-of-sale terminals, and, given the direction the U.S. economy took after 2008, there’s been great reluctance to switch over to terminals that support E.M.V. cards. Nevertheless, the pressure to change is mounting in major ways and business owners are wasting no time in contacting payment services and equipment providers like Total Merchant Services. For one thing, credit card issuers have set definite deadlines for merchants to switch to E.M.V.-enabled processing. Merchants failing to meet the established deadlines will be encumbered with new liabilities concerning losses due to credit card fraud. The reasoning is that merchants who fail to comply with the switch are choosing to conduct business through less secure means. Sounds like a very good reason to visit a place like www.total-merchant-services.com to procure updated technology.

Mark your calendar: April 1, 2013 is the deadline established by both Visa and MasterCard for payment processors and service providers to support merchant acceptance of E.M.V. transactions; and, October 2015 is when fraud liability shifts occur. Fuel merchants have an extra two years to comply — until October 2017. Will you be ready?

Merchants are taking to their favorite search engines to get more information on the details of the switch, even as they also search for terms like “free Internet merchant account.” What you need to know is that you have three years to prepare, and that credit card fraud is expected to diminish as a result of the added safety E.M.V. cards provide; some estimate a 60 percent reduction in fraud.

After American Express begins issuing E.M.V. cards later this year, the big four credit card companies in the U.S. — MasterCard, Visa, American Express, and Discover — will require that merchants comply with the October 2015 deadline to acquire processing capability for E.M.V. cards.

Another force that’s credited with promoting the overdue switch in the U.S. is the growth of mobile commerce.

In-Stat analysts believe that more than 1 billion N.F.C.-enabled mobile devices will be in use by 2015. Of course, major retailers haven’t been sitting around with their arms crossed: Walmart, for instance, has already bought E.M.V.-enabled terminals for its American stores, according to Retail Touch Points. How are you preparing?

Comments are closed