Is Your Restaurant Ready for EMV?

By Bijan Shahrokhi in EMV, Mobile Payment

First of all, what is EMV and more importantly why should restaurateurs care about EMV? In this blog post, we have defined EMV and listed several reasons why every merchant needs to care about EMV!

What does EMV stand for – Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) is a global standard for all credit card brands including debit and credit cards issued by American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa.

What is an EMV card – these are the new credit cards with the small gold-colored rectangular electronic chip embedded on the front left side of the card. To the right is a sample Visa Debit Card issued by Bank of America, notice the arrow that is highlighting the embedded electronic chip on the left side of the card.

What does the EMV chip do – the embedded electronic chip stores the card member’s data electronically and generates a unique code each time the card is used to make a payment. Each generated code is unique to that specific transaction creating a more secure process.

Why is EMV better than a magnetic stripe – the information from a magnetic stripe can easily be duplicated onto a blank card, encoding an electronic chip with the customer’s data is much more difficult to duplicate and embed on a blank credit card.

What if I don’t have an EMV card reader – for merchants without an EMV reader, the magnetic stripe of the credit card will be used to process payment transactions.

How is an EMV card processed – the EMV card is inserted into the credit card terminal or the EMV reader of the POS system and the customer will validate the transaction with their signature or by inputting their PIN number. PIN numbers are most utilized worldwide with signature verification implemented in the U.S. For transactions under a specific floor limit amount, neither PIN nor signature may be required.

Will an EMV transaction take longer – yes it will, the EMV process requires that the credit card remain in the credit card terminal or the EMV reader of the POS system during the authorization process. This will require staff training and take longer than the familiar swipe and go magnetic card process.

Is there a way to speed up EMV transactions – contactless EMV allows the EMV reader to communicate with the EMV credit card via an integrated EMV contact reader currently being sold on many of the new EMV ready credit card terminals.

What about NFC payments instead of EMV payments – Near Field Communications (NFC) equipped credit card terminals and PIN pads allow your customers to pay electronically from their smartphone with such 3rd party services as Apple Pay, Softcard, Google Wallet and other mobile wallet payment programs. NFC transactions should be as fast as a credit card swipe for the experienced mobile wallet customer, but to date mobile wallet customer acceptance has been slow to gain acceptance.

Why should a restaurateur care about EMV – effective October 1, 2015, American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa (the card brands) have mandated a counterfeit fraudulent transaction liability shift making the merchant liable for all costs if the merchant is using the least secure technology of the parties involved in the fraudulent transaction.

What about lost and stolen fraud liability – for American Express, Discover and MasterCard the lost and stolen fraudulent transaction liability shifts to the merchant effective October 1, 2015, if the merchant is using the least secure technology of the parties involved in the lost or stolen fraudulent transaction. Visa, unlike the other brands, will continue to be liable for lost and stolen fraudulent payment transactions even if the merchant can’t process EMV transactions.

What does a restaurant need to do – to eliminate the counterfeit fraudulent transaction liability shift your credit card terminal and/or POS terminal must be able to accept and process an EMV credit card payment transaction by October 1, 2015.

Will my credit card terminal or POS system handle EMV cards – unless you have updated your credit card terminal, POS system or payment PIN pad in the last few months, the answer is probably no. Most POS developers have been slow to embrace EMV due to a lack of technical specifications regarding the EMV process requirements.

Do I have to update my merchant processing equipment – no you do not, this is a mandate and not a law. Remember, if you do not update you will be liable for all costs involved with a counterfeit fraudulent transaction if you are the least secure technology of the parties involved.

Will my customers care if I don’t update – millions of Americans have been the victim of card payment fraud and there is a growing customer awareness regarding the loss of personal information, you will want to make sure your restaurant is viewed as a secure location to process credit card payments by being EMV ready before the October 1st dead line.

About the author – Bob Frazier

This is a guest post from Bob Frazier, a Restaurant POS professional with over 20 years of coaching, advising and assisting restaurateurs with their Restaurant POS System selection and implementation. Bob Frazier and POS Advice assist restaurateurs considering a POS system by providing restaurant POS information, resources, white papers and educational videos. To learn more, visit

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