Many U.S. retailers are begrudging the need to migrate to EMV. That’s because they are thinking of it as a costly technology upgrade that they never wanted or asked for. They see themselves as having to pay big bucks to solve what many perceive as being a banking problem, not a merchant problem.

Indeed the cost of upgrading the old magnetic stripe card readers at POS with EMV chip and pin readers is expensive for retailers, not to mention the disruption this will cause in their operations during implementation, and the need to train their staff on the new system.

The need to adopt EMV quickly is being sold to merchants mainly as a way to avoid the liability of credit card fraud going forward. As of October 2015, any retailer who had not yet adopted EMV will be financially responsible for any fraudulent card-present transactions. Given that U.S. credit card fraud was expected to exceed $10 billion in 2015, one would expect this to be incentive enough for retailers to get with the program sooner, rather than later.

For some retailers, however, the math might not be working for them. They may indeed be seeing that the cost of implementation exceeds the amount of possible financial risk they will likely incur over the next few years. Consequently they see little immediate value in adopting EMV in the short-term.

We would encourage these retailers to change their perspective on the situation.

Instead, of looking at EMV implementation as a way to mitigate the financial risk of credit card fraud, they should be looking at EMV as an opportunity to enhance their customer experience to possibly achieve competitive advantage.

In this new era of omni-channel or unified channel (whatever you prefer to call it), retail share is being lost or won based on how well each retail brand can deliver a better seamless customer experience than the others.

EMV compliant terminals provide opportunities to enhance customer experience, and those retailers who are quick to act on this will enjoy a competitive advantage over those who don’t.

The most significant opportunity to enhance customer experience is the ability of EMV compliant terminals to facilitate the use of NFC mobile payment options like Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay.

Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky is famous for saying that he never skated to where the puck was, but instead to where it was going next.

If chip-and-pin credit cards are where the puck is now, then Mobile Payments are where the puck is going next.

One only has to look at the success of Starbucks in implementing mobile payments to realize that consumers are embracing this payment option, and for good reasons:

  • No bulky cards to carry in their wallets
  • No PINs to remember for multiple cards
  • No signatures required at checkout.

So if the liability shift is not incentive enough to make the switch to EMV sooner rather than later, consider the ultimate cost of not offering your customers the convenience of mobile payments before your competitors do.

To help you plan and more quickly implement EMV in your retail organization, we invite you to download a complimentary copy of our white paper entitled, “7 Lessons Learned From 25 EMV Implementations”.

EMV White Paper Download