By Bill Pittman, Senior Vice President, Petro Solutions – Originally published in the WPMA Autumn 2020 Newsletter – There’s no doubt that we have faced some unusual months and the future as a result of impacts from COVID-19 is somewhat uncertain. We are hearing many talk of a “new normal” and that many changes are here to stay for a while – perhaps some indefinitely. Fortunately, the EMV liability mandate for pay at the pump has been extended 6 months to April 2021. This is the 3rd extension and more than likely the last. However, upgrading to support EMV at the pump is not as scary, difficult or expensive as it may seem.
We know that upgrading to support EMV was a concern for stations even prior to COVID-19. But there are options other than a costly complete pump replacement (some in excess of $100,000 plus per site), pulling up concrete and completely disrupting the daily operations and revenue.
The scary part about not upgrading are the costs of noncompliance at the pump, which has resulted in more than $500 million in charge-backs in the last several quarters and as a result brand reputation becomes ruined when there is fraud found at the pump. The consequences could mean putting a station out of business.
In addition to a station ensuring it is not held liable for fraud, an upgrade could also mean promoting fewer touch points if the solution has contactless capabilities – all important factors during this new normal. With EMV contactless, there is no need to insert a card, enter a zip code or signature. Eliminating touch points is a positive benefit that a station can promote to customers.
The best option for stations that can’t afford a full replacement is to upgrade by using an affordable retrofit solution. A semi-integrated, retrofit solution can eliminate touch points, simplify installations and add contactless to support social distancing guidelines. There are a few important points to consider when evaluating a retrofit upgrade:
1. Does the vendor use a semi-integrated solution at the pump or does it require a fully integrated solution?
2. Does it allow for easier scalability? What is the installation process – can you upgrade one pump at a time, or do you need to shut the station down?
3. How about security – is it tamper resistant and is it P2PE i.e. card data encrypted at the point of entry?
With a retrofit solution that enables EMV, you can use your existing pumps and should be able to support EMV at a much lower cost of a new pump.
The Importance of Semi-integration
Traditional industry certifications for EMV take about 6+ months to complete which is why having multiple certification requirements is not ideal. With a semi-integrated solution there is a single
certification because the device goes directly to the payment processor. For a fully integrated solution, which most of the industry supports, anytime a component in the payment flow changes such as card reader, forecourt controller or payment software changes the solution needs to be recertified – a time-consuming process.
Full integration includes the payment application as a part of the core POS solution. It handles every aspect of transaction, from reading the barcode scan or Chip on Card and pushing the credit card data to the processor to managing inventory. All card data is handled by the POS and therefore in direct PCI scope.
With semi-integration, the terminal or device used to capture customer card data is connected directly to the payment processor so no certification is required. The challenge for stations is to ensure the attended POS system works with their unattended pay-at-the-pump solution and they both work with the forecourt controller. This is further complicated with EMV and the primary difference between full integration and semi-integration.
The Bottom Line: You have Cost-effective Options
With todays’ advice by the CDC and WHO to practice social distancing to reduce the amount of human contact, a cloud-based, simplified solution allows for much of the process to be completed remotely with only one to two people needed for an onsite install. Installation takes one hour or less per dispenser, minimizing down time.
Stations don’t need to be concerned with options for upgrading because they have cost-effective choices. However, there is concern about waiting until the last minute due to lack of installers and also the consequences of not upgrading before the deadline. For more information about Sound Payments, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.soundpayments.com.