Three Reasons the U.S. Needs to Adopt EMV POS Systems

Remember those hourglasses you used to use as a kid with board games to move the game along? You’d flip it over, sand would run out and that represented the time you had left on your turn.

Well, U.S. merchants are sort of in the same boat. Not to say that EMV compatibility is a game, but the penalty-free period of non-compliance for merchants is set to run out in a few months, whether they realise it or not. Luckily this hasn’t been a problem for countries outside of the U.S., as EMV POS systems have been widely adopted and in use for years.

Many merchants and retailers in the U.S. are aware of the upcoming EMV deadline and have made – or are in the process of making – strides toward updating their POS payment terminals (here are a few tablet and iPad POS systems we typically recommend). However, that’s not the case for everyone. Ask anyone on our Client Services team in Boston and they can tell you about multiple conversations about customer’s POS environments, and chip-and-pin EMV card readers aren’t even on their radar.

We previously offered some advice for U.S. businesses looking to future-proof their checkout terminals before it’s too late. Based on what we’ve seen in the UK and beyond, here are a few reasons why merchants and retailers need to make the transition.

Increased Security

Hands down, security is the biggest reason why the transition to an EMV card reader should be a no brainer for retailers and merchants. Every card is embedded with a micro-computer chip, which is used to authenticate transactions, making them more secure. Every time a shopper’s credit card is used for a purchase, the chip creates a different encrypted transaction code, making it almost impossible for hackers to reproduce for fraudulent purchases. And if a breach were to happen, and the merchant was using an EMV compatible POS system, they aren’t liable for any of the losses.

Quicker, Mobile Checkout

Unlike EMV contact cards – think traditional debit or credit cards – contactless cards allow customers to pay by waving or tapping their card at the checkout terminal. According to EMVCo, contactless transactions can be 53 percent faster than a traditional credit card transaction, and 63 percent faster than cash. Further, many of the POS companies we work with offer EMV readers that support mobile payment services like Apple Pay, NFC, and other mobile wallets. These capabilities allow merchants reach new customers and tap into new revenue streams.

Meet Your Customers Where They Are

The tides of change are here as card issuers begin rolling out EMV cards to their customers, and the bottom line is merchants need to be ready. Aite Group estimates almost 70 percent of credit cards and 40 percent of debit cards in the U.S. will support EMV by the end of this year. That’s an enormous share of cardholders that merchants can’t afford to turn their back on, and it’s only going to grow. Tailor checkout for your customers, and you won’t risk missing a sale.

Check out the first installment in our EMV series here, and reach out to us on Twitter with any questions!