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This is the year that retailers are expected to outfit their stores to be EMV-ready. EMV—named after the credit card companies EuroPay, MasterCard and Visa, which will be leaving the magnetic swipe system behind to outfit their cards with chip and PIN technology—helps reduce card fraud resulting from counterfeiting, lost cards and stolen cards. The technology has existed at card terminals all over Europe for several years but has yet to be employed in the US. The transition to EMV is supposed to be on deck for retailers in 2015.
Yet for US retail IT executives surveyed by Gartner for RIS News in February 2014, new payment technologies such as EMV and contactless pay remained far down the list of technology initiatives they planned to implement. When asked which technology initiatives they would focus on in the next 18 months, respondents were more concerned with expanding multichannel initiatives (30.3%), developing a mobile enterprise or store strategy (24.4%), and network and IT systems security (24.4%) than they were with implementing new payment technologies (20.2%).
Fast-forward to January 2015. The EMV migration deadline is only nine months away, and according to a survey ACI Worldwide conducted at the National Retail Federation’s January 2015 convention and expo, 55% of retailers were still not fully prepared for that October deadline. Of the survey’s respondents, 14% said they still had work to do, 19% weren’t at all prepared for the change, and 22% were still evaluating their options before making any big moves.
Instead, many are focusing their energies on sharpening omnichannel efforts. Respondents were investing in their omnichannel sales and customer experiences above all else (37%), followed by mobile payments acceptance technology (20%)—a big topic at the end of 2014 with the launch of Apple Pay and growing competition in the space—and online and ecommerce initiatives (20%).
With those topics top of mind, edging out the switch to EMV as a top action item, ACI found that there was a “notable lack of urgency regarding the migration to chip and PIN technology.” Though EMV remains the global standard for credit and debit card payments, retailers seem largely unconcerned that they may miss the October 2015 deadline they set last year. A low 19% were confident they would meet the October deadline; those who don’t will become liable for credit card fraud at all locations that have not set up the technology, ACI mentioned.
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