Despite some early success, it can’t be ignored that there are still many merchants that cannot accept EMV chip cards.
That's not because they haven’t started their migration, but because the payments applications developed by their VAR, ISO and ISV partners or themselves have not yet been certified.
Now, merchants are starting to see their chargebacks mount—chargebacks for card-present transactions increased 50% following the liability shift. While not all chargebacks are due to the chip card migration, it has become a significant point of motivation for merchants in trying to accelerate their chip card acceptance programs.
With this surge of organizations now trying to get through the testing and certification process, they have overwhelmed the industry's resources and created a certification backlog. But this isn’t the only reason for the backlog— we’re also seeing that when many merchants finally get to the front of the certification “rush hour” line their application fails to pass certification.
This not only frustrates the merchant and delays their plans of chip card acceptance, it also compounds the traffic jam and makes the backlog problem worse. When an organization fails the certification test, acquirers and other certifying entities need to spend more time with them to identify why they failed and assist them in resolving the problem. Eventually, the certification has to be resubmitted, further stressing the capacity.
The good news is, there is something merchants can do to not only make their trip through the certification backlog more successful, but make it successful the first time: pre-certify.
Pre-certification ensures that when a merchant gets to the front of the queue they will get certified. This one, simple step streamlines the certification process, therefore reducing and potentially eliminating the backlog.
To break the cycle of certification frustration, merchants should follow these proven and basic pre-certification procedures: Isolate sales functions from chip card payment processing by using a “semi-integrated” payment solution architecture for reduced complexity; consider plug-and-play chip card terminal applications to reduce development time and the qualification and certification overload; pre-test implementation to minimize certification testing issues; and use a brand-approved testing platform to help achieve certification. Merchants should also consult with an EMV certification specialist to ensure successful certification
While the certification process is seemingly daunting, it’s important to acknowledge the importance of the migration to EMV chip payments. The transition is modernizing the U.S. payments ecosystem to align with the global common standard for payments, and opens the door to new opportunities to support future evolutions that are interoperable with the rest of the world.
Following these best practices can help organizations shorten their implementation cycle, get their EMV chip card payment acceptance into the market more quickly, and ensure that when they get to the front of the certification queue they will get approval.
Xavier Giandominici is vice president of the Americas and Financial Services at FIME. This column has been summarized and excerpted from the FIME eBook, “A Management Guide to Accelerating EMV Chip Card Acceptance,” which can be downloaded at https://www.fime.com/whitepapers/a-management-guide-to-accelerating-emv-chip-card-acceptance.html.