Q&A | April 14, 2014

Interest In EMV Rising After Data Breaches

Bernadette Wilson

By Bernadette Wilson, associate editor, Business Solutions magazine
Follow Me On Twitter @bernadeditor

Ingenico card reader

Ingenico offers insights into VARs’ role in the migration and in providing a solution that works for merchants and consumers

EMV adoption in the U.S. has been slow — but the cyberattack that led to Target’s highly publicized data breach seems to have been a wake-up call. Rod Hometh, senior VP of market development for Ingenico, observes a different atmosphere than the one a few months ago. “I went to an ISV conference in August, and I was surprised how few had embraced EMV and how few understood the effort that was before them,” he says. “Eight or nine months later, the majority are quite aware. They are starting to designate internal experts and pursue their own strategies.”

Hometh points out recent data breaches are only one factor that is making EMV front of mind for solutions providers. “To some extent, it’s competitive pressure. Those who are prepared are going to separate themselves.” Another driver could be the calendar. On October 1, 2015, liability for transactions made with fraudulent payment cards will shift to acquirers if the merchant doesn’t have an EMV-enabled point of sale (POS) system — placing the responsibility for transactions on banks and other financial institutions and on merchants.

This makes VARs even more critical to their merchant customers. “EMV is more complex than mag stripe,” Hometh comments. “If it’s not delivered in a complete form, in most cases it won’t work … and VARs have to be mindful, the transaction has to be secure every step of the way.”  

Hometh says VARs, as trusted advisors, need to educate their merchant customers about EMV and the time it will take to migrate. This might begin with the VAR or MSP doing a little studying of their own. Hometh says educating yourself, taking advantage of vendor training and education, and connecting with the right people are an important early step for VARs to be successful.

He adds that it’s important to understand the role your company plays in the consumer experience, and for many VARs, this will be viewing your systems in a different way. With EMV, consumers will have to change the way they provide payment — and VARs will need to “make solutions work for the merchant and make them work for the consumer.” 

“VARs who can do this — integrate things like loyalty and marketing and make it into an easy experience — are going to be successful.” 

Ingenico’s insights are based on the company’s own experience with EMV migration, serving as a technical associate representative to EMVCo's Board of Advisors and working through the Canadian migration for the past eight years.