Many Merchants Still Not EMV Compliant as October Deadline Looms

It's surprising how many small businesses are still not able to accept cards with EMV chips.

According to recent statistics, only 42 percent of small businesses plan to make the switch to terminals that will accept credit cards embedded with EMV chips before the October 2015 deadline. The largest barriers for small businesses to become EMV-compliant are the cost of upgrading terminals and the lack of time or resources required to research terminals.

Studies indicate that 58 percent of merchants have higher sales when customers are able to pay with credit cards. These statistics make it clear that merchants providing this means of payment to customers profit in the long-run. However, the requirement to upgrade terminals to be EMV-compliant poses a problem for some.

Seth Ruden, senior fraud consultant of ACI Worldwide, says frankly:

“This is something I worry about…smaller merchants who resist the terminal upgrade and then have a local fraud event, and eat the losses.”

It is estimated that 86 percent of merchants not making the switch to EMV-compliant terminals may not be able to handle the financial and legal liabilities of fraudulent card transactions. This is a source of concern because in October of this year, the requirement is that 75 percent of transactions must be processed though EMV compliant terminals. Once that deadline passes, fraudulent transactions may be billed to the merchant if EMV non-compliance is proven to be the cause of the fraud.

Use of EMV chip technology brings the U.S. in line with other countries that have seen a reduction in fraud since the technology has been in use. The microchip, embedded in credit cards, is virtually impossible to duplicate and thus reduces the potential for counterfeit fraud by a significant amount. Stronger authentication methods provide a deterrent to fraudsters who have previously enjoyed the relative ease of using information gleaned from the standard magnetic strips that have been common with credit cards in the past.

Merchants must weigh the costs of upgrading their credit card terminals to be EMV-compliant versus the potential costs of fraud related losses if they choose not to upgrade. In either event, the October deadline for making that decision is coming soon.

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