If you are like many retailers and hospitality operators, you are preparing to upgrade your POS system in view of the Europay/MasterCard/Visa (EMV) accountability change. Perhaps you've already done so, since the change took effect on October 1. Making such a move has its own advantages --i.e., letting you process chip-enabled cards and, consequently, protecting you from financial responsibility for fraudulent card-present transactions completed in your institution (s). However, in addition, it has its drawbacks--namely, chip-based card transactions can take longer to process than transactions implemented with magnetic stripe cards. Luckily, there are ways to stop EMV from slowing your transaction times also noticeably.
- Choose the proper hardware. EMV gear comes in two"flavors"--"EMV-ready" and"EMV-certified." The former simply has a slot to which customers insert their processor cards when it is time to pay for food or merchandise. By comparison,"EMV-certified" equipment was certified to operate best with specific POS solutions and with just certain payment processors. Learn from your POS provider which apparatus in their technology toolbox are compatible and will work best with your current system. Choosing only from one of hardware choices on the supplier's list should greatly minimize transaction-related flaws in the aftermath of conversion into an EMV platform.
- Consider a contactless payment arrangement. Undeniably, you will want the ability to process"contact" chip card payments, as some clients won't ever grow accustomed and/or eager to make payments in contactless mode. However, such payments take longer to process than contactless payments, thus a contactless payment option is also an important element of any POS hardware configuration deployed due to the EMV liability change. For some time security-minded consumers favor the excess layer of security afforded by chip-based card authentication, they remain wary of long queues at the POS. Without a contactless payment option, they may get so frustrated that they take their business elsewhere--rather, to a merchant that's bought into EMV-based payment coverage AND accepts payments in a more expedient (contactless) manner.
- Train workers thoroughly. Transaction times are naturally longer when clients are not certain how to utilize EMV-ready or EMV-compliant payment technologies --but with help from knowledgeable workers, things will move faster. Accordingly, instruct employees on how best to help customers select the application they would like to use, guide them through the a variety of transaction steps (e.g., insert the card into the slot rather than swiping it through the magnetic stripe reader), and avoid any pitfalls (see #4, below).
Employees should also learn what to do if a processor card or chip card reader happen to malfunction. Let them know that the gear will typically let a few attempts at reading a processor card before prompting for a fallback read of its own magnetic stripe (if allowed by the issuer).
- Educate clients. While a deficiency of EMV training among workers will certainly contribute to slower transaction times, so, also, will the lack of consumer education. Until educated otherwise, clients have the capacity to make mistakes that result in transaction delays. By way of instance, if a processor card is put into the designated slot on a POS terminal, but quickly removed instead of left in position for the duration of the transaction, the latter will be automatically canceled--and all steps resulting in payment has to be repeated. Similarly, within an EMV environment which involves tipping, the gratuity has to be inserted before settlement occurs, or it can't be contained in the transaction overall. If a client mistakenly omits the suggestion, but needs the server to be given a gratuity, the transaction has to be voided and re-initiated from"scratch."
Employees can be trained to aid clients with chip card use, and also to ensure that they don't create the above-mentioned mistakes. Reinforce customers'"EMV education" with wrought iron signage; for instance, signals that remind patrons to wait for the beep before removing a processor card by a POS terminal and to remember to take their cards once transactions are complete.
Once more, the transition to EMV brings many advantages to retailers and hospitality gamers --but in the small price of extended transaction times. The more steps you take to stop EMV from lengthening transactions too much, the better.