Among the most important payment changes on the horizon in the U.S., is the migration to EMV technology and the looming October 1, 2015 deadline.
In less than four short months, merchants that dont accept chip-based payments may be held responsible for fraudulent transactions. With nearly 47% of credit card fraud worldwide coming from the U.S., fraudulent transactions are not something businesses should take lightly if they want to avoid liability.
While preparing for the migration may be a challenge, it also presents opportunities for small businesses to re-evaluate their payment systems. Here are some tips and considerations to help guide small businesses through the process:
Embrace the opportunity to upgrade the entire point-of-sale (POS) system. Five years, ago the average POS system consisted of clunky hardware that ranged in price from $1,500 to $20,000. Thankfully, upgrading POS systems isnt as painful, or as costly, as it used to be. Today, a POS system can be as simple as an iPad or iPhone and a less than $200 mobile card reader. Accounts can be approved online in seconds, and a mobile card reader can be shipped to your door in just a couple of days.
Since small businesses have to upgrade their terminals for EMV-compliance by October 1 anyway, why not take the opportunity to replace the entire POS system with the latest and greatest technology? The best systems enable online, mobile and in-person sales all through the same account.
Make sure to understand the liability shift and its potential impact. As I mentioned, merchants who do not accept EMV payments may be held liable for counterfeit transactions when their customers use chip and PIN cards after the migration. With more than half of U.S. consumers expected to be using chip-based cards by the end of 2015, merchant losses have the potential to spike astronomically if businesses fail to make the EMV switch.
Get ready for any new technology with a future-proof solution.When evaluating the new EMV-compliant systems, look for systems that can grow with the business and accept any form of payment. While the ability to take both chip-based card payments is important, small businesses also need to be prepared for the next generation of payments. With a large approval rating from U.S. consumers, Near Field Communication (NFC) technologies such as Apple Pay and Google Wallet are gaining popularity.
Go Mobile. Consumers are increasingly moving to mobile as their primary means of computing and shopping. An EMV solution should also make taking payments easier no matter how or where customers are shopping. Small businesses should consider terminals that dont need to be wired to a desk. A mobile payment processes that can literally be brought in a back pocket to a customer site, on a business trip, or to a trade show will help to keep all payments in the same place.
While the transition to EMV may seem burdensome, it presents a unique chance for small businesses to upgrade their POS systems to accept the payment options of today and tomorrow. With plenty of resources available to help guide small businesses through the EMV migration and whatever the next wave of technological innovation to transform commerce might be, there is no better time than now to get started.
Brad Brodigan is vice president and general manager of retail for PayPal.