MasterCard and Visa have jointly decided to push back the deadline for merchants to install EMV chip-card readers at gas pumps in the United States. Many merchants have stated they do not have enough time to complete the multibillion dollar upgrades.

Both companies state it is a priority for them to ensure that consumers have safe places to shop and use their cards. They will be working with both the fuel companies, station owners, industry associations, and third party vendors to make sure that this transition is a smooth process.

All merchants will now have until October 1, 2020 to upgrade to the new EMV chip technology for their businesses. Both companies will monitor payments and fraud trends at the pumps to assist their customers in discouraging fraud. Currently, banks are responsible for the fraudulent transactions that occur on a consumer’s card at the gas pump. Now that the deadline has been set, that liability will shift over to the station if they are not compliant after the deadline.

The process, so far, has been successful. To date, more than 1.7 million, that represent over 1/3 of the US store fronts are now accepting EMV cards correctly. Visa has seen a 43% reduction of counterfeit card fraud with merchants that are using the chip enabled technology.

One of the biggest challenges for the gas station owners is their older pumps will have to be completely replaced before the chip readers can be installed. This will require specialized vendors. And even 5 years after this mandate was announced, merchants are still facing a shortage of compliant POS terminals to purchase or lease.

Many industry sources point to the lack of a centralized organization to orchestrate the change over to the new technology. This process was mandated by three different agencies and companies, to help in the prevention of theft and fraud. But no one spent the time to standardize the process. When the first mandate date rolled out on October 1, 2015. Terminal suppliers, software programmers, merchant services companies and retailers were all being told different stories on how to implement. As a result, terminals were in short supply, the certification process was taking months instead of days to implement, and retailers were running for the hills to stay away from this fiasco until the dust had settled.

Now it is time to re-think your position on the EMV terminal. You have been given 3 more years grace, but don’t risk the fraud liability now. Start your process to implement your EMV technological upgrade now.

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