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EMV: What does it mean for Acquirers?

With Visa’s recently announced U.S. EMV initiative, massive infrastructure changes loom on the horizon for card acquirers.

To ready themselves for this change, acquirers can think about breaking down the implementation into three buckets: device enhancements, enhancements to acquiring systems and customer service.

While daunting, the complexity of the EMV implementation can be somewhat tempered by installing the new hardware in two phases, starting more simply with EMV-capable devices that can be upgraded later down the line. Sometimes it is just a software upgrade that can bring the devices fully up to EMV when needed. In addition, EMV acceptance device configurations need to include key certificates.

In terms of system enhancements, acquirers need to update transaction processing systems to handle additional data processing elements and EMV scripts as well as update switch interfaces. Storage of Transaction Certificates – or EMV e-receipts that prove the transaction took place – need to be automated and have the ability to send changes in case of charge disputes. Lastly, acquirers need to think through how these infrastructure changes affect the customer service end of things: merchant training and support, consumer training and dispute management all need to be considered.

The clock is ticking as Visa has set an April 1, 2013 deadline for U.S. acquirer processors to support merchant acceptance of chip transactions. Are you ready?


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