Merchant Services 101

Everything you need to know about EMV at the pump (for gas stations) April 17th, 2021 deadline

The gas pump EMV deadline has postponed to April 17, 2021 due to COVID-19 pandemic. It was originally scheduled for October 1, 2020. The gas pump EMV deadline will require you to upgrade your payment terminals to accept chip payments and magnetic strips. In doing so, you will help fight fraud and eliminate your risk of liability for chargebacks.

EMV at the pump needs to be the norm whether you are a big gas station chain or a local gas station in a city or town. In April 2021, the expectation is that gas stations have or will have complied with EMV protocols to install an EMV or chip card reader. The migration and upgrade process needs to begin now if it has not already, but it is something that many gas station owners still have questions over. What are the important things you need to know? As a gas station owner, how can you be sure you are making the right decision for your business, while complying where necessary?

When Exactly is the EMV Deadline 2020?

To wrap your head around what is to come, you need to have a firm grasp of the deadline to begin with. The EMV 2020 deadline was going to be on October 1, 2020, however, that date was recently postponed. The new pay at the pump EMV deadline for gas stations is April 17, 2021. The EMV upgrade deadline is in place to help with the protection of gas stations across the United States. With this deadline here, the Europay/Mastercard/Visa (EMV) protocol or standards should be in place at all gas pump terminals accepting card-present payment processing.

It all focuses on the EMV protocol and rolling this out widespread, to all card readers. EMV protocol is a process around the authentication of card-present payments. It works to prevent unauthorized use of card-present payments at terminals. What this means in simpler terms is the installation of a debit or credit card chip reader or chip card reader. This extra security layer helps to further authenticate payment and avoid the risk of fraud by the user of the card or cards.

What is the State of Gas Stations and the EMV Migration?

So what is the current state of gas stations as they are considering the move to EMV compliance? Studies show there is lack of EMV card readers migration at many gas stations. There have been many studies, including some that point out that fraud is on the rise at gas stations.

Many local gas stations are yet to add the chip card readers. When these readers are not present, it opens up the potential of someone using the lack of EMV standards to commit fraud, and with little risk. The combination here for fraudsters is that they have big reward potentials with minimal risk exposure.

It will be costly to migrate all gas stations over, thousands per pump at the gas station in your local town or city. While payment plans make this an easier pill to swallow, it is still a big cost that goes along with it. With each pump costing thousands, gas stations fear this will eat into the profits. If you were a gas station, trying to keep up profits, would you want to invest that much money if things were working still in the current form?

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Why is it Important to Change and to Become EMV Compliant?

Gas station chains as well as local gas stations can gain a lot of value installing EMV compliant gas pumps. Most gas station owners are not going to be well aware of the major fraud risks as they are too busy trying to keep the lights on. When you install a pay at the pump EMV it will help, though, in the risk exposure and potential liability space.

The big piece here that gas stations need to hone in on is liability related to chargebacks. When you do the upgrade to EMV, you are going to be eliminating the risk exposure or potential liability for chargebacks at the gas pump terminals. Currently, risk exposure exists with traditional card-present payment terminals.  Fraud could result in gas stations being responsible for paying chargebacks out of pocket. This is a significant liability that you can avoid when you move forward with an EMV upgrade.

What Are Some Roadblocks to Upgrading to EMV Protocols?

Since there is so much value and protection in what you get through an outdoor EMV set-up at your gas pumps, why are you hesitating? Gas stations have been trying to push for an EMV deadline extension because of the cost of the upgrade. There is a cost that goes along with adhering to the EMV requirements deadline coming up in April 17th, 2021. It is technology cost, wiring, and other necessary pieces.

The EMV deadline for merchants hones in on April 17, 2021. The problem, though, is the COVID-19 impact is real and also draining potential profits from gas stations. With the cost of the technology high, mass adoption rate needs to happen. Gas stations may not want to spend on card-present payment upgrades. With everything going on with COVID-19, extra income to make such an upgrade may not be in the cards for gas stations.

Are Gas Stations Required by Law to Upgrade to be EMV Compliant?

The EMV deadline USA requirements are not law at the federal, state, or local level. With that said, though, the EMV standards carry a lot of benefits, reduction of risk exposure, making it essential.

How Should Gas Station Owners Proceed With the EMV Upgrade?

You need to be very careful of deals too good to be true. There are companies trying to take advantage of gas stations as they make their way towards this EMV deadline. They are making big offers, trying to allow for free hardware, as well as installation and everything in-between. What many gas stations do not realize, though, is that there are going to be hang-ups that go along with this. While the cost of the hardware is something a gas station may not have to pay, there will be fees and such that go along with it down the line. Paying increased credit card processing fees will eat away at profit margin over time.

Should You Wait Until Contactless Payment Technology Arrives?

Another thing that many gas stations continue to think about is all the technology that is coming down over the next few years. There is a lot of opportunity with contactless gas pumps, using wireless phones and other means of making payments. While it is true that these are going to cause future upgrades and such to your hardware, they are still a few years down the line. Even so, there will still be individuals using debit or credit card chips and other means of payment, meaning that the EMV need exists.

What are the Final Steps to Plan for the EMV Deadlines Incoming?

It all comes down to planning ahead. Now that you know the answer to when do gas pumps have to be EMV compliant, it is time to start to plan for the deadline to come. The EMV compliance deadline for gas stations is coming on April 17th, 2021. Now is the time to start to get all the hardware ready to go, the wiring in place, and so on. Investing now, moving forward with the installations, will lead to a lack of a need to rush in the spring months once April 2021 starts to roll in.

The Europay/Mastercard/Visa (EMV) payment terminals bring big value. They also work in protecting gas stations from excessive liability. Chargebacks are nothing to laugh off and can be quite costly for gas stations. The risk of fraud is present and will continue to be even more present for gas stations that do not move forward with the EMV upgrade deadline. Now is the time to act and to work towards EMV compliant gas pumps for April 2021 and the years beyond.

Do You Need to Upgrade to EMV?

The time is now for gas stations, big and small, to consider the benefits of an EMV upgrade at each of their terminals.  If you have yet to consider your options for the EMV upgrade, you want to work with a partner that you can trust.  BankCard Services can help you get set up and work through the EMV upgrade process in an efficient and value-add way.  Contact us today to start down the path towards added security at each gas pump.

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