Will the New Outside EMV Deadline Matter?

Expert says winter months will bring new challenges
Photograph: Shutterstock

ALEXANDRIA, Va. Visa has delayed the outdoor EMV liability shift deadline for fuel retailers. However, the six-month delay—from Oct. 1, 2020, to April 17, 2021—does not meet the request originally issued by several fuel industry associations.

“Given the extreme circumstances and world economic crisis, we respectfully request that the global networks delay the liability shift deadline and determine an appropriate new date once this crisis has passed,” read the letters to the credit card brands that manage the EMV deadline, which are Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover. NACS, PMAA, SIGMA and NATSO distributed the letters. Responsibility for fraudulent transactions at the pump will legally shift to fuel retailers who have not upgraded their dispensers to the new standard once the deadline arrives.

The associations behind the letters asked to delay not only the deadline but also a decision on when exactly the deadline would fall until after the pandemic. The associations made the request because the winter months leading to spring will bring new difficulties for retailers trying to reach EMV activation outside, said Linda Toth, director of standards for Alexandria, Va.-based Conexxus, in an interview with CSPDaily News.

“November and December are very busy times for all of retail,” said Toth, expressing hope that holiday shopping as we know it will be possible by that time. “Then, once you start to get into December, January and February, they simply can’t do upgrades in Northern climates because they can’t break concrete. There’s snow and ice on the ground.”

Doing the necessary work to upgrade to outside EMV now is nearly impossible, Toth said. Plants assembling new pumps and retrofit kits have been forced to delay production. Local and state government permitting processes have been delayed. Social distancing measures have made pump inspections extremely difficult. Global supply chains have ground to a halt. These are just a few examples of the hurdles retailers face, she said.

And while Visa’s deadline extension is a boon for retailers, Foster City, Calif.-based Visa is only one card brand, and Mastercard, American Express and Discover will all have to make the same concession for the new deadline to apply to all sites and all transactions.

“We are glad to see Visa recognize the unequivocal economic impact coronavirus is having on businesses, and we hope the other major networks will follow suit,” said Anna Ready Blom, director of government relations for NACS.

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