EMV: $8.9 Billion Cost, 30-Year Payback

Tech standards director voices concern over cost, deadlines at users' conference

Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Tobacco, CSP

Gray Taylor EMV

Gray Taylor

SOUTHLAKE, Texas --Citing numerous barriers to implementation of in-pump EMV technology by a 2017 deadline and an exorbitant $8.9 billion price tag over the next 10 years, an official with a major convenience-store technical standards body said he will be part of an effort to communicate the hardships to issuers and card brands.

Speaking before about 150 attendees at Arlington, Texas-based The Pinnacle Corp.’s 2015 users' conference in Southlake, Texas, this week, Gray Taylor, executive director for Alexandria, Va.-based Conexxus, the technology advisory group affiliated with the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), named barriers to the data-security upgrades called “Europay MasterCard Visa” or EMV, as ranging from the lack of device certification to not enough in-field technicians for retailers to meet a credit-card company deadline of October 2017.

In addition to the deadline burden, Taylor laid out estimated costs for pump and in-store upgrades, including equipment, installation and business downtime among numerous factors, with initial compliance costs alone hitting $3.9 billion. Adding the cost of capital and maintenance over 10 years brought the estimate to $8.9 billion, with no direct return on investment.

Citing a major oil company source who Taylor said conducted internal calculations, the payoff timeframe could stretch over 30 years.

Later discussing the gravity of the shift with CSP Daily News, Taylor said, “No businessman would invest in anything that wouldn’t give 25% return on a five year payoff.”

That said, Taylor told attendees that he has accepted the inevitability of EMV as fallout from the data breach at department-store retailer Target, news of which drew broad media attention several years ago. That publicity, according to Taylor, gave the credit-card companies the opportunity to pose EMV as a solution—a conclusion he contests.

Taylor said he and his team are working with regulators and other groups to communicate barriers such as the following:

  • Not enough technicians to complete the task by 2017.
  • A certification bottleneck, where multiple devices have yet to achieve certification to run EMV.
  • Dispenser manufacturers would have to ramp up 150% to keep pace with presumed demand.
  • Financial hardships, with about 30% of retailers simply not having the ability to pay for the equipment with operating profit.
  • Growth of fraud on retailers who lag behind—what Taylor estimates to be an uptick of 19 basis points, enough to put a retailer out of business.
Angel Abcede, CSP/Winsight By Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Tobacco, CSP
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