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EMV: Lessons learned

November, 2014

EMV will cause trouble, but itís here to stay

By Shaun Donaghey

Even for those working in the industry the payments sector can be complex to understand, so having empathy with parking operators and managers trying to make sense of new requirements such as EMV (Europay, Mastercard and Visa, the international standard for integrated circuit card transactions) is critical. We’re talking about a large and comprehensive shift in the payments landscape that involves everyone – card schemes such as Visa and MasterCard, banks, equipment suppliers, operators and of course the customer with their newly received chip-based credit card.

For the cardholder it means a new way of interacting with a payment terminal when for many years they’ve been used to a simple swipe. For operators its understanding what a shift like this means to their business, what’s involved with being EMV compliant (or more importantly not being compliant), and trying to sort misinformation from fact.

There’s been an increasing amount of education in the parking industry about EMV, the technology, objectives and why this is being rolled out in the United States, but little regarding the impact it’s had in other countries, so here’s some sound bites worth reviewing.

Each card scheme has its own version of EMV but all are based on the same specification issued by EMVco, the governing body. This means there will be nuances involving card processing and acceptance between each scheme in the U.S..

Being the last major market to deploy EMV isn’t necessarily a disadvantage, except for U.S. credit card holders trying to purchase goods when traveling overseas with their mag-stripe only credit cards. It should, in fact, provide significant insights into adoption in other countries and what fraud trends appeared.



As we’ve seen in many instances, fraudsters are generally lazy and will exploit the weakest link in card and transaction security. In most countries, such as the United Kingdom and Australia, there has been a dramatic increase (in some cases double) involving card-not-present fraud after EMV was rolled out. Great news for merchants with a physical presence as fraud dropped, not so great for merchants selling goods and services online.

Contactless, or tap-n-go, technology is still relevant in an EMV-compliant world with its own set of EMV standards. In fact in markets such as New Zealand contactless usage has significantly increased in unattended environments as the transaction is faster and more convenient to the cardholder than inserting a chip card into the card reader.

It’s not just point-of-sale and unattended environments requiring hardware upgrades – banks may need to upgrade their ATM network to accept EMV cards for cash withdrawal also

EMV is a significant step forward, and not without its challenges from a deployment perspective, but remember it is just one part of increasing security in payments.

Lastly work with an experienced EMV vendor – the technology is complex and having a single supplier that can offer an EMV compliant card reader and processing gateway is advantageous.



Shaun Donaghey is the Chief Operating Office of Payment Express, a global supplier of EMV hardware and processing solutions. www.paymentexpress.com. Twitter: @shaundonaghey


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