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Still Putting off an EMV Implementation? Where to start? There’s so much complexity around EMV that many retailers don’t even know where to begin. A technology partner or system integrator can help guide you, but here are some key questions to know that will help you get a better understanding of the project. What’s the scope? Do you really understand what EMV will require of your organization? Are your objectives prioritized and are the decision-makers clearly identified? Most retailers will also have to address changes or needs of other systems during an EMV project, so there may be many precursor components.

by Kimberly Berneck, BTM Global Senior Vice President, Delivery Management Although slow to start, EMV adoption rates in the U.S. are gradually creeping upward, though still with some hurdles. In its 2016 State of Retail Payments Study, the National Retail Federation and Forrester Research found that 57 percent of merchants have installed EMV equipment but can’t enable it because they are waiting for system verification – and most have been waiting more than six months. There are also many third parties that need to be involved in an EMV project: The point-of-sale software provider, signature capture provider, authorizer and others all come from different organizations and require coordination throughout the project. There are still many retailers who haven’t made the switch to EMV, and they typically cite common stumbling blocks for their lack of adoption. Let’s look at some of the most common and what the solutions may be.

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How can you support EMV? How much knowledge do you have in-house or who do you need to hire? This is a huge part of your operations, so the role shouldn’t be outsourced for the long term. Find an owner for it – or better yet, dedicate a team to it. That’s a big commitment, to be sure, but EMV will have a big impact on your business. The more people you dedicate, the fewer surprises and the more successes you’ll have. Without a dedicated team or champion, you risk confusion and inefficiencies that could lead to missed deadlines and added costs. Understanding the ROI The cost – in terms of dollars, time and resources – for an EMV implementation can be significant, and this can cause many smaller retailers to procrastinate even longer. But weighing your potential ROI is not a bad thing; you shouldn’t necessarily rush into an EMV implementation until you understand what does and doesn’t make sense for your unique business. What’s the risk of inaction? Everyone knew EMV was coming, but almost everyone waited for someone else to implement it first. Because of the slow progress, banks have started enforcing chargebacks to retailers that don’t have EMV in place. Perhaps you don’t care about the charges and want to take EMV slowly, or maybe you want to get rid of the extra fees as fast as possible. As an organization, knowing these risks and their repercussions on your organization will help determine how quickly you need to move, which will then inform the best path forward.


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