Is EMV killing business?

Besides the fact that EMV can be annoying to most shoppers, is it really killing business to the local small merchant. Let’s look at the issues.

EMV is more secure: Yes EMV is more secure than the mag stripe cards. But if the merchant is not using the EMV dipping process there is no benefit to having the EMV enabled card. Right now there are 5 million EMV compliant terminals that are being used in merchant locations across the country. But, only 1 million of these terminals are being actively used. Swiping on an EMV compliant terminal is just another way to say come steal my information please. Merchants are just not using the dipping process as of yet.

Why are merchants not dipping if they have the terminal?

Backlogs in 2 steps of certification have brought the EMV chip rollout to a standstill. The first is the software integration for all the terminals. People do not realize, this was not a government roll out program. This was mandated by Visa and MasterCard, the merchant processors, and several big banks. The roll out process was not coordinated by any main group and the process was flawed. Roll out the terminals, Install the software, and create the certification process. There was no orderly plan in place to coordinate all aspects of EMV integration. You have several businesses, all working for themselves, with their own goals, all being told they would have to service these terminals and these businesses, millions of businesses, with no guidance from the banks and from Visa and MasterCard.

The installation of the software takes several weeks to become installed. And then to be able to take the EMV chip cards, need to be certified. This certification process takes some businesses weeks, even months. Some retailers, waited for months with no idea when they would be able to be certified.

After the certification process, the consumers were confused. They did not know what to do with the chip. Do I swipe, do I dip? What do I do. Then, when the customer did dip their card correctly, they did one of three things. Most pulled out their card too soon, and the transaction had to be repeated. Or they walked out, forgetting their cards, slowing down the process. Or they completed the card process correctly. Add this to the fact that EMV card transactions tend to be slower, high volume businesses were losing money because of the time lost in making their transaction.

The EMV process has been a slow, painful, process for many small businesses. When the dust finally clears, this should be a more secure, and safer way for individuals to pay for goods and services in stores and online.

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