CITGO Supporting EMV Upgrades

Brand initiative allows eligible retailers, marketers to underwrite portion of POS upgrades

Kara Gunderson CITGO Europay, MasterCard and Visa EMV

Kara Gunderson

HOUSTON -- Gasoline retailers and their marketer partners face major changes to payment technology and the burden of fraud liability with the rollout of Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV)-enabled credit cards. CITGO Petroleum Corp. said it is supporting its retailers and marketers through this transition.

Attendees at a recent Atlantic Region Energy Expo (AREE) in Atlantic City, N.J., heard first-hand about a CITGO program that will share the upgrade costs and fraud liability during the transition.

The initiative, available to eligible CITGO retailers and marketers, underwrites a portion of the point-of-sale (POS) upgrades and provides incentives for those under the CITGO brand to convert to EMV-compatible technology. CITGO also has volunteered to temporarily shoulder the financial burden of the EMV Counterfeit Liability Shift for marketers and retailers as they work to upgrade their systems, the company said.

“CITGO retailers and marketers are under pressure to meet tight deadlines and navigate the financial and technological challenges these upgrades bring. As a partner to these businesses, our goal is to remove as many hurdles as possible and ensure their continued success,” Kara Gunderson, CITGO POS manager and chair of the Data Security Committee for Conexxus, told AREE attendees.

Starting Oct. 1, 2015, credit-card issuers will begin to hold liable retailers whose credit-card terminals are not EMV-compliant for EMV counterfeit transactions conducted inside their stores. This is a change from the current system, which holds creditors responsible for counterfeit liability related to card-present fraud.

CITGO said it remains committed to offering the industry’s best technology to ensure the security of consumers’ payment transactions. Achieving these new standards is costly to CITGO retailers, which is why CITGO is offering financial assistance to speed the upgrades to the company’s EPOS network and to encourage early adoption of the highest standards via the most advanced technologies, it said.

Citing Javelin Strategy & Research, CITGO said U.S. retailers will spend an estimated $8 billion to convert POS devices, ATMs and credit and debit cards to the EMV standard.

CITGO is playing a role in navigating the transition to EMV technology, with CITGO POS Manager Kara Gunderson serving as the founder and co-chair of the Petroleum Special Interest Group within the EMV Migration Forum. The transition to EMV technology within the petroleum industry is unique compared to other retail sectors because of fleet cards and robust loyalty programs. Also, paying for gasoline at the pump requires two payment-card transaction transmissions for one transaction. Gunderson is working with the credit-card industry, POS developers and payment system companies to ensure the oil and gas industry is fairly represented in the EMV transition.

“Customers are demanding more secure options for electronic payments,” said Jonathan Watson, CITGO manager of business services and payment card. “And we must rise to meet their expectations and ensure consumer safety. While delays in the process have put most retailers behind schedule, by working together with CITGO marketers and retailers we can move toward 100 percent compliance as quickly and smoothly as possible.”

Often known as chip-and-pin cards, EMV is a global standard for credit cards that uses computer chips and pin numbers to authenticate credit card transactions. The encryption on the computer chip changes for each individual purchase initiated using the card, thereby reducing the risk of data breaches and counterfeiting, and the PIN number helps validate user identity. Use of these new cards requires retailers across all industries to upgrade their POS systems to accept EMV technology.

CITGO, based in Houston, is a refiner, transporter and marketer of transportation fuels, lubricants, petrochemicals and other industrial products. The company is owned by CITGO Holding Inc., an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Petróleos de Venezuela SA, the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.