Making the Case for EMV Chip-Cards

By Foodable Industry Expert Rick Zambrano & co-authored by Anthony Ventre, relationship manager for Heartland Payment Systems

There’s an old saying in the world of commerce: Never separate your customers from their wallets. Sounds like a no-brainer, but time and again, independent restaurant owners ignore this sage advice:

“No credit cards under $10.”

“Sorry, no American Express!”

“Cash only – ATM next door.”

We’ve all seen these handwritten signs scotch-taped to the counter. And sometimes, we turn around and look for a restaurant that wants our business.

Soon, your customers will be walking in with a new kind of credit card.

Advantages of EMV Chip-Cards

Smart credit cards, also known as EMV or “Chip-Cards,” have been everywhere for a while – everywhere, that is, except for the U.S. But that changes this year. Why? Because in just about every country where EMV Chip-Cards were adopted, incidences of credit card theft and fraud dropped significantly. And that left one very easy and lucrative target for cyber crooks: American businesses and their customers.

A magnetic card stripe can be cloned in seconds by a device that costs under $100. Not so with the chips that are the heart of EMV technology. Every time a chip card is used, the data on the chip is altered, making it a moving target that’s virtually impossible to duplicate.

Upgrading systems without breaking the bank

The good news is that this change is not going to cost restaurant operators an arm and a leg. Most major credit card processors already have a variety of hardware capable of authorizing EMV transactions. Typically, you can buy one of these devices for $200 to $300. And some processors offer trade-in allowances on older equipment as an incentive to upgrade. Your cost to accept and process credit cards won’t change at all. Just be aware that some unscrupulous individuals may use the EMV conversion to lock you into an expensive lease or higher fees. Your operation won’t change much either. Instead of a quick swipe, you’ll slide the card into a slot and wait a few seconds for the authorization ticket to print.

If you own a POS system, the conversion might be a little more complicated and expensive. Many POS hardware and software manufacturers have yet to develop EMV compatible solutions, and some are planning to generate handsome profits by telling their customers that EMV is “mandatory.” Not true! If your POS provider tries this tactic, it’s probably time to find an honest one.

Speaking of your customers’ wallets, you may have noticed that mobile wallets from Apple, Google and others are all the rage. Virtually all equipment capable of handling EMV cards also handle “tap-and-go” payments. Using a technology called NFC (near-field communication), a secure connection is made between the device and the customer’s mobile phone when it is placed within a few inches of the card reader.

If you’re interested in learning more about EMV acceptance, you can check out more information here: webinar.marylandrestaurantconsulting.com.

Editor’s Note: Foodable has no affiliation with the webinar referenced above.