The COVID-19 pandemic has put tremendous pressure on convenience stores and other fuel retailers to ensure the delivery of essential services. But the pandemic has also provided one small reprieve—the deadline for converting gas pumps to accept “chip” payment cards has been extended to April 17, 2021.
Initially slated for Oct. 1, 2015, the deadline was extended to October 2020 when it became evident that many fuel retailers were struggling to make the conversion. In May, Visa extended the deadline again due to the unprecedented business disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The nationwide shift to chip cards under the Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) standard began in earnest in 2014. While traditional payment cards store data in magnetic strips that can be copied and counterfeited, EMV cards use computer chips to create a unique, one-time code for each transaction. That code is useless to a criminal if stolen because it can’t be used again.
Fuel retailers have been given more time than other merchants to make the switch due to the difficulty of converting fuel dispensing equipment. With less than 10 months to go, however, retailers need to have a plan in place for meeting the new deadline.
The EMV transition challenge
While the move to EMV is not mandatory, card issuers have given merchants an incentive to replace their point-of-sale (PoS) systems with EMV-compliant equipment. For example, liability for purchases made with a compromised card shifts from the card issuer to the party that is the least EMV-compliant. In other words, the cost of fraud will be the responsibility of the non-compliant merchant. The April 17, 2021, deadline reflects the date that the liability-shifting approach will apply to fuel retailers.
Many fuel retailers have delayed switching to EMV technology due to the cost and complexity involved. While the card readers used inside a store might only cost a couple of hundred dollars, purchasing and installing the PoS terminals in gas pumps can be much more expensive.
EMV does not eliminate the need to maintain compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). EMV is concerned with preventing fraud in card-present transactions, while PCI DSS focuses on securing cardholder data. Fuel retailers must ensure that they remain PCI DSS compliant as they upgrade their PoS systems and software.
Contacting a certified MNSP is step one
The services of a certified Managed Network Service Provider (MNSP), such as the SageZONE solution offered by MNSP SageNet, are a necessary pre-requisite to achieving outdoor EMV compliance. These solutions allow outdoor EMV deployment at the fuel dispenser when using NCR, Verifone or Gilbarco PoS systems.
The deadline for transitioning to EMV has been extended, but the clock is ticking. Teaming-up with a certified-MNSP is an essential first step to reducing cost, complexity and risk in converting to the EMV standard.
This post is sponsored by SageNet