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Why You Need To Talk To SMB Merchants About EMV

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With just four months left until the October 1 liability shift, it’s imperative to help your clients make informed decisions about EMV technology now.

To give VARs some perspective on SMBs’ progress in the transition to EMV-enabled payment technology before the Oct. 1, 2015, liability shift date, BSMinfo.com reported the results of the survey, SMB Preparedness for the Transition to Chip-Based Credit Cards, by Software Advice, a research and reviews website for IT security software. The survey revealed that as of late last year, only 11 percent of SMB merchants had terminals capable of accepting EMV payments made with integrated circuit or “chip” cards to authenticate transactions. The report also included the reasons SMBs hadn’t yet installed EMV terminals: 30 percent said they are unnecessary, 17 percent said they are too expensive, 16 percent said they had no time to research or implement them — and 26 percent said they didn’t know what they are.

At the time the survey was released, there were about 10 months until the October 1 liability shift — when liability for fraudulent payment card transactions shifts to the party with the least EMV-compliant technology. Now, with only a little more than 100 days until that date, your SMB merchant clients might still be in the dark about this impending change.

Business Solutions asked VARs if they’ve seen progress among their SMB clients since the survey — or if 26 percent are still unaware of EMV.

“It’s worse. It’s more like 80 percent here,” says Bob Medina, the owner of Aztec Eagle Systems, a Lawton, OK, VAR. To help change that, Medina provides his SMB clients and prospects with informational handouts and lists of online resources related to EMV. He explains, “If they don’t make the transition, they leave themselves open to fraud with noncompliant devices. Merchants do not understand that the onus is on them if they continue to use noncompliant devices.”

Paul Leduc, president of Globe POS Systems, based in Brampton, Ontario, says he executed a similar strategy prior to the liability shift in Canada in 2011. Of all of the information available to merchants, he boiled it down to two basic points: the liability shift and the security aspects of EMV. “I had a two-page synopsis. I carried it with me, and I left it behind. It’s really all the merchant cared about: the liability shift and security.”

When your conversations with SMBs progress from the liability shift and security to purchasing EMV technology, it’s beneficial to continue to educate your clients. Rob Chilcoat, president of North American operations for Unattended Card Payments, a hardware and payment gateway solutions provider, says, “I find the best way to present value is to explain that these sophisticated pieces of hardware have processors and intelligence of their own, unlike the simple mag stripe readers most automated retailers are used to — which typically just do simple keyboard emulation of the data on the magnetic stripe. EMV terminals, using an application hosted locally on the devices along with encryption keys, secure data at the point of interaction, and send it to the gateway/processor through a secure connection, which is why we call them terminals and not just ‘readers.’”

With merchants aiming to provide the best customer experience to stay competitive, you can also explain to SMBs Subscribe to Business Solutions magazinehow EMV technology can contribute to a positive experience by protecting consumers’ payment cards — and their accounts. Chip cards create a unique transaction code — so if data were stolen, a payment attempted with that one-time code would be denied, and the cards can’t be duplicated.

In addition, says Chilcoat, “With a chip card, the issuing bank can send updates to the card through any EMV-capable terminal. So if a potential breach of that card’s account number had occurred elsewhere, the next time the card is put into a terminal, it can have security updates sent to the chip. The card becomes an active part of monitoring the account for suspicious activity.” For example, if a chip card is used repeatedly in a short period of time at a kiosk that doesn’t require online authorization, the chip can tell the terminal not to accept the next transaction without online approval.

For merchants, having EMV-enabled systems protects them from chargebacks for fraudulent card transactions. Your conversation with an SMB merchant could evolve into a math exercise of how many fraudulent transactions they experience now and how that compares to the cost of upgrading their payment systems. That calculation, however, might not be a good predictor of ROI for some merchants who could see an uptick in fraud after October 1 if they don’t install EMV-compliant solutions.

Patty Walters, SVP of EMV corporate strategy for Vantiv and vice chair of the 2015-16 EMV Migration Forum Steering Committee, urges, “If you serve retail, supermarket, fuel, or drugstore merchants, understand that EMV integration is absolutely critical to protect them.” She explains those merchants — selling gift cards, electronics, or jewelry — will be targets of fraud if they do not have EMV-enabled systems after the transition.

Chris Martyniuk, CTO of etixnow, a provider of e-ticketing solutions, based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, adds that beyond saving the cost of chargebacks, you should discuss the other ways EMV can protect your merchant clients. “You cannot put a price on the ability to escape being blamed for fraudulent purchases. The returns are immediate. Reputations are fragile — no merchant can afford to be in that position,” he says.

“When the landscape is split between merchants who accept EMV and those who don’t, customers will gravitate toward those that are perceived to be more secure,” Martyniuk comments. He says, for example, now that Canadian consumers are accustomed to EMV transactions at restaurants with wireless tableside terminals, they “are loath to let their Visas out of their hands in American restaurants, when the server takes the card to swipe.”

“Losing sight of your card feels instantly like, ‘It will be stolen. I will be defrauded.’ The same trend will take hold in the U.S., and merchants without EMV upgrades will be left on the side of mistrust,” Martyniuk says.

Walters stresses that however you want to carry out the EMV conversation with your SMB clients and prospects, definitely and with urgency, start it. “There is absolutely a real need for merchants to protect themselves, and time is of the essence.”

She adds you might not only be helping your clients protect their businesses, but you could be protecting your own: “If a merchant’s legacy solutions provider doesn’t provide EMV solutions, they could reach out to someone else — and that could be a risk to your business.”


LINK TO ORIGINAL CONTENT: http://www.bsminfo.com/doc/why-you-need-to-talk-to-smb-merchants-about-emv-today-0001?atc~c=771%20s%3D773%20r%3D001%20l%3Da

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