October 1st, 2015 seems to be the date to remember. This is the day that the retailers and the entire payments industry in the US are anxious about. After this day “Liability Shift” will come into play if you have not completed an EMV deployment as a merchant, i.e. protection from financial liability for Card-present fraud-losses if EMV is deployed. With more and more merchants moving towards the safer Chip and Pin technology of accepting payments, the scenario is getting better for the customers with secure payment methods. The October deadline is one of the major milestones for big networks such as Visa, MasterCard and American Express in creating a sense of readiness in the minds of the merchants and the customers. It is also followed by another milestone set for Oct 2017, the “Counterfeit Card Liability shift, Automated Fuel Dispensers”, wherein the counterfeit card liability shift takes effect for transactions from automated fuel dispensers. Let's leave that one aside for now as we will cross the bridge when we get closer.
Hustle and Bustle surrounding the “Liability Shift”:
BuySecure, an initiative directly from the White House has been a great boost for the public as well as the service providers to quickly integrate Chip and Pin technology. This initiative was intended to lead by example and it has been a great motivation for people in the business to increase their pace of migration to the new technologies in payments; it has also created awareness in the minds of the general public about payments security. Other public service announcements are also following suit to inform the general public about the vulnerability of magnetic stripe technology and the certainty of EMV cards.
Recently, announcements from the District Attorney’s office of San Diego has captured the attention of the public for their alert on the security risks in using the old technology. It has also cautioned people about the data breaches that stung the industry last year and explained how these breaches can be reduced with the chip based cards.
To alert the public, and to stress the need of this technology, public campaigns such as 'Protect My Data' organized by a firm called Consumer Policy Solutions, are enforcing the need for Chip and Pin technology. These are indirectly helping to keep a check on the progress of implementation of EMV technology by the upcoming October 1st deadline.
Make hay when the sun shines:
Companies are certainly making use of this window of opportunity. Apart from the large terminal providers, newcomers and opportunistic companies are also making hay. In order to facilitate the small merchant’s ease of migration, NPC payments, a subsidiary of Vantiv, is providing business operators with complimentary Chip and Pin payment processing hardware. Another processing company, ‘CreditCardprocessing.com’, is offering EMV/NFC terminals with zero charge to the business operators for the convenience of receiving mobile payments. Apart from this, large players are also assisting small merchants in migrating to EMV technology. One such example is the “Small Merchants EMV Assistance” program by American Express. With this program, merchants can request a one-time $100 reimbursement for upgrading to EMV terminals.
NFC Payments are now gaining momentum due to the increase in the number of smartphone users and the convenience of cashless payments. With Apple’s tokenization and Google’s host card emulation, security is considered to be the highest priority. EMV deployment in such an environment would be a major step towards the technology’s transition. To keep pace with it, service providers such as Ingenico and Verifone have already deployed EMV enabled POS terminals, of which a majority are equipped with contactless technology.