The “liability shift” for outdoor EMV is looming closer and closer for C-Store retailers! October, 2020 is the deadline for compliance which less than a year away. Any more delays on extending the deadline date are becoming less than likely! Not being compliant can be expensive, not just for the liability shift, but, any breach will hurt your brand and business; think of all the past breach like Home Depot, Huddle House, Target, etc…

As most retailers are aware, the current mag-stripe card readers are susceptible to skimming. EMV compliance reduces the associated risks and being compliant puts the burden back on the acquirers and card issuers.

There may some mystery around the liability shift and what it means. Simply put, if you process a fraudulent EMV enabled card as a mag-stripe transaction, the retailer will be liable. In the Petro C-Store space, most transactions at the dispenser are card based, only 13-15% of transactions are cash [1]. This is a huge vector for fraud and the more dispensers you have the larger the vector.

Upgrading dispensers to EMV compliance has associated costs and can be complicated. By not being compliant, it’s a gamble that will surely be a loser to retailers. With over 80% of fuel transactions being card-based at the dispenser, it leaves retailers with only three options; 1) Upgrade to be EMV compliant, 2) “doing nothing and hope you are never compromised” or 3) don’t take cards at the pump.

Most retailers have already gone through the exercise of becoming Indoor EMV compliant; however, being Indoor EMV compliant doesn’t cover the outdoor dispenser transactions.

As noted, the process of upgrading can be rather complicated because of the various parties that need to be involved including POS vendors, EPS acquirers and dispenser partners. When choosing an outdoor EMV solution, you must take into consideration all parties involved. As part of the planning process, some questions that should be answered include: Does the Outdoor EMV solution work with my existing POS(s) and is the POS/BOS ready for outdoor EMV? Is the solution certified with my Acquirer(s)? Are the dispenser partners certified with the various partner combinations? It is possible that your organization may need to select more than one solution.

In addition, overall cost and availability may be a deal breaker as part of your decision process. Some of the factors that could affect cost and availability include: 1) having to “pull” new wiring, 2) product availability, and 3) installer availability. There are wireless solutions which can mitigate new wiring, but the major question is; “Are they available for my POS, Acquirer and Dispenser type?” The longer you wait, the more difficult it can become to upgrade due to limited installer and product availability as we move get closer to the October 2020 deadline.

In a recent Conexxus survey, only 48% of retailers indicated that they are ready or will be compliant by the October 2020 deadline, which leaves 52% that are in need of a solution to close this gap.[2]

The US Payments Forum has an excellent white paper on the subject [3] which is worth reading to prepare before time is runs out. ROC Associates is available to partner with your organization to determine the best strategy for your circumstances in order to meet the deadline and lower your risks to avoid the liability down the road.

[1] https://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/most-drivers-swipe-debit-cards-at-the-gas-pump.php

[2] https://finance.yahoo.com/news/us-payments-forum-releases-guidance-120005133.html

[3] https://www.uspaymentsforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/EPS-EMV-L3-Certification-FINAL-Oct-2019.pdf