Merchants have a vastly different receptiveness and understanding of the U.S. conversion to EMV-chip payment cards, and VeriFone is taking a diverse approach to appealing to them all.
The terminal maker has embarked on an aggressive education campaign to get merchants on board with the switch as they update their point of sale hardware. It is also entering partnerships to cast a greater spotlight on its hardware.
"The effort to EMV-enable merchants varies greatly, depending on the channel and previously installed equipment," says Erik Vlugt, VeriFone's vice president of product marketing in North America.
Some merchants have previously-purchased EMV-ready hardware, in which case efforts can be focused on software and certification, Vlugt says.
"Many others will need to replace or add hardware as they have not recently upgraded their acceptance equipment or have no consumer-facing equipment, which is required for EMV," he adds.
VeriFone announced last week that WorldPay will make its EMV terminals and other hardware available to its merchant base. WorldPay will test and certify all of the EMV equipment that is part of their payment system.
VeriFone is working with many other customers, partners and distributors to support the EMV migration, Vlugt says. As such, the company is emphasizing its EMV-capable, portable and mobile payment systems and software for acquirers and independent sales organizations during this week's 2013 ETA Annual Meeting in New Orleans.
VeriFone also conducts webinars twice a month, on-site training and seminars, and its executives have addressed the topic at industry conferences, Vlugt says. In addition, VeriFone has had "heavy participation" with its representatives attending industry roundtables such as the Smart Card Alliance's EMV Migration Forum, Vlugt notes.
After Visa Inc. announced a set of deadlines for EMV conversion in 2011, many merchants immediately switched regular purchasing patterns to EMV-ready hardware, Vlugt says. The major card brands set October 2015 as the deadline for a liability shift in which the party not providing EMV technology would be responsible for fraud losses.
"We are pleased with merchants' willingness to prepare for the 2015 liability shift by investing in hardware that is EMV-ready," Vlugt says.
Still, as an industry player that has operated with EMV in other countries, VeriFone "sits in a very good position" to educate merchants and make the transition smoother, says Scott Strumello of New York- and London-based Auriemma Consulting Group.
In reality, banks are driving EMV migration on the issuing and acquiring sides, Strumello says. Still, VeriFone has to set the technology pace for its customers, he adds.
"VeriFone has a lot of different solutions for merchants, and if the market continues to move swiftly toward EMV, it can certainly facilitate it," Strumello says.