As a restaurateur, you probably saw the new regulations in regards to EMV (Europay MasterCard Visa) Cards that are set to enact as of October 1, 2015.  And as a restaurateur, you probably were not AS concerned as say a retailer, due to the fact that fraudulent charges are much more prevalent in the retail world versus the restaurant industry.

However, restaurateurs should be working to quickly implement the equipment requirements, due to the fact that as of October 1, any fraudulent charges made to their system will now be their responsibility.  Yes, that is not a typo. You, the restaurant owner, are now liable for any fraudulent charges made within your establishment.

With this sort of liability looming over your business, why wouldn’t you do everything in your power to invest in new EMV Card readers for your POS system?  Doesn’t that make a ton of sense, compared to playing the waiting game to see how many fraudulent charges come through to your business?

There are three simple steps that restaurant operators should be taking in order to properly prepare for this transition.

  1. First off, monitor the EMV Timelines.
    Although the dates could possibly change, October 1 is currently the deadline for the liability shift. With this in mind, start shopping for an EMV-capable terminal for your business.  With payment processors no longer on the line for any fraudulent charges, you can’t afford to lose a second in this race against the deadline.  Card brand websites, payment processors and point-of-sale terminal providers should be constantly updating their websites with pertinent information for you to stay up-to-date.
  2. Create an Acceptance Strategy
    EMV Card ReaderConverting to EMV technology will not be difficult for restaurants that have simple credit card terminals, the investment that these businesses are looking at is really no more than a few hundred dollars. In fact, most of the EMV-capable terminals are self-installing, making this process even more painless.  The conversion to EMV really involves more fundamental changes for establishments that have a POS system that is integrated.  For businesses that have PC-based touchscreen POS terminals however, there is a possibility of security risks with this EMV change, due to the fact that these EMV peripheral devices are not linked to the hardware like the traditional magnetic swipe systems are.  Additionally, operators using tablet-based POS solutions can be hit with problems due to the fact that a wired EMV terminal defeats the purpose of the ease of use of the swiping software.  As part of their strategy for moving the business forward with EMV, operators should:

    • Examine all of their equipment and determine what needs to be done to enact the EMV changes. Discuss with their payment processor or POS vendor to determine what sort of upgrades are needed to their system, and create a plan.
    • Establish their acceptance model for the EMV system. For example, will they require a PIN or a signature? Will they opt to waive the need for a customers’ signature below a specific ticket amount?
    • Create a plan that stipulates the schedule for implementation, budget, et al
  3. Training
    Operators need to remember that shifting to EMV will affect the staff as well as their in-house technology. All team members who interact on a frequent basis with the POS system in an establishment will need to be trained quickly to ensure that there are no hiccups.  It is the responsibility of the operators to educate their employees on the company’s policies (i.e. Signature vs. PIN) and how the systems will be used, as well as to answer any of their employees (or customers) questions in regards to the technology.

With these three steps in mind, transitioning your business away from magnetic swipe technology to the EMV system should not be difficult, and will ultimately work for your business by helping to prevent fraudulent purchases.