Credit Card Processing – EMV Checklist for Merchants


Top 3 concerns and remedies for the upcoming EMV credit cards

As the industry EMV deadline (October 2015) for fraud liability approaches, merchant customers are beginning to receive new credit cards in the mail that include the embedded EMV chip. Many are now wondering how it works and how it will affect them when they go to use it and make purchases. Worldpay has helped merchants implement EMV in the rest of the world and processed more EMV transactions than any other company. These are some of the lessons learned when EMV was introduced to the European market. 

New Consumer Behavior
The first thing consumers are concerned about is how the EMV chip works when they purchase goods. EMV cards are never out of sight of the owner so payment behaviors will change. The credit card will stay in the payment device during a normal retail transaction; restaurants will bring a payment device tableside so their patrons can pay-at-the-table. This is vastly different than how credit cards are used today.

1. Consumers will need to learn that paying for goods using a credit card will resemble an ATM type of transaction versus swiping their mag stripe card. The EMV enabled credit card will need to be inserted into a payment device at the point-of-sale and remain there until the transaction concludes. If the merchant is utilizing “chip and signature”, the transaction will resemble a mag stripe type of transaction and the merchant will require the customer to sign the receipt for verification. If the merchant is utilizing the more secure “chip and pin” method, the consumer will need to enter their secret pin code into the payment device to authorize the transaction amount. Once the transaction is concluded, the consumer may then retrieve their credit card from the payment device. This new payment behavior requires consumers to re-learn how they use a credit card. During an initial EMV rollout, a twenty lane supermarket had 300 credit cards left in their new EMV devices at the end of the first day by unaware consumers.

2. In the U.S., consumers will also need to grasp the concept that their EMV credit card has a secret pin code separate from a “cash advance” code.  Traditionally, credit card pin codes have been associated with high interest rate cash advances on the card’s credit line. This has caused many consumers to avoid using pin codes with credit cards at all costs. To help combat this, EMV prompts on the payment device should be clear and provide an explanation of each entry to prompt the user through the payment cycle.

3. While helpful, EMV screen prompts can also be a source of confusion and frustration for consumers when using an EMV credit card. Unlike ATMs, there is no standard for EMV prompts so each retailer buying experience could vary greatly.  Merchants should utilize EMV systems that minimize the number of prompts the consumer has to navigate when first implementing EMV to help expedite the transaction and lessen confusion.  Retailers are often tempted to add a variety of up-sells within the prompts but will be rewarded with happier customers by keeping these to a minimum during the initial EMV rollout.

Lastly, merchants should be aware that EMV transactions can lengthen checkout times and plan staffing levels accordingly. Since much of the payment operation is now handled by the customer, checkout times could take longer and are dependent upon the speed of the customer and their familiarity with the EMV prompts and process versus a well trained cashier.

Article by Chester Ritchie
SVP, Head of Strategy & Market Development

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