By now, many merchants, VARs and integrators know that EMV—the globally accepted approach to payment security based on smart card technology—is coming to the U.S. The adoption of the EMV standard, which calls for the rollout of microprocessor-equipped smart cards that enable every transaction to contain a unique cryptogram, will be accelerated by the so-called “liability shift.” As of October 1 of 2015, merchants and acquirers—not card issuers—will bear the financial burden resulting from fraudulent use of counterfeit, lost and stolen cards. That risk of financial burden is only mitigated by demonstration and documentation of EMV compliance.
For merchants, VARs and integrators, the next logical question is, “what should we be doing now to prepare?” The long-term migration to EMV requires merchants and integrators to do some short-term planning. Preparation for the transition to EMV begins with hardware infrastructure and physical card payment processes, and the integration choices made today will have significant implications tomorrow.
For some merchants, one primary consideration is the choice between integrated or semi-integrated payment environments.
Generally speaking, in an integrated solution the payment application is part-and-parcel with the core POS solution; one piece of software handles every aspect of the transaction, from bar code reading to tendering and processing payments to managing inventory and replenishment. In a semi-integrated environment, the terminal or peripheral device used to capture credit card data is connected to the POS application, but the application used to actually process card payments is on a separate device.
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