museums&MORE Summer 2015
Editor’s Letter: Have you done your EMV homework? By Zeke Jennings

Human beings often make peace with their own procrastination upon finding out they’re not alone in putting off an unwelcome task.

This starts as early as grade school, where anxious children arrive with unfinished homework only to breathe a sigh of relief when they learn several classmates didn’t do theirs either.

The current homework deadline for retailers is Oct. 1, 2015, aka EMV day. That’s the day of the Counterfeit Card Liability Shift.

If you’re not familiar with EMV — which stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa — it’s a technological advancement designed to help eradicate credit and debit card fraud. Essentially, EMV is a chip inserted into credit and debit cards for authentication purposes — these are referred to as smart cards, chip cards and a host of other names. In turn, retailers must get updated card-reading equipment for the system to work properly. reports the average cost of upgrading to EMV-compliant equipment is around $500, but that’s just a ballpark figure. Whichever company you use for your P.O.S. equipment will be able to provide your business with a more accurate estimate.

Now, not having upgraded equipment in place doesn’t mean you won’t be able to process credit and debit card transactions after Oct. 1. In fact, estimates fewer than 60 percent of U.S. retailers will be compliant by the deadline.

If you’re behind on this, clearly you’re not alone. Now, doesn’t that make you feel a little better?

It shouldn’t and here’s why.

The liability of credit card fraud has typically fallen on the company or bank that issued the card. After Oct. 1, the liability will fall to the party involved in the transaction with the least-compliant EMV equipment.

Like P.O.S. equipment providers, credit card companies and banks also have a transition to make, and it’s not going to happen overnight. By the end of the year, about 70 percent of credit cards issued and 40 percent of debit cards issued will have the EMV technology. Within two years, however, 86 percent of financial institutions issuing credit and debit cards in the U.S. are expected to be using the EMV system.

In other words, the longer you wait after Oct. 1 to upgrade your equipment, the greater the chance you could find yourself in the position to get burned for hundreds, even thousands, of dollars as the result of a credit card scam involving your store.

Regardless of your opinion on the EMV switch — some think it won’t be effective, while others suspect the whole thing is a money-making conspiracy — what is indisputable is the liability law change is coming.

Don’t wait. Get cracking on that homework.

Zeke Jennings

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