Visa Upgrades EMV Software

Date: April 20, 2016

New Software Designed To Enable Chip-Card Reading In Two Seconds

As retailers large and small across the US have struggled to implement new EMV technology following a card issuer-imposed fraud liability deadline, Visa is planning a major upgrade of its card processing software designed to expedite the time each chip-enabled card transaction takes at merchants. Fortune reports that Visa says the Quick Chip upgrade will allow customers to dip and remove their chip cards from card readers in two seconds instead of leaving the card in the terminal while the payment is processed. This could cut transaction times by up to 18 seconds, addressing a major consumer and merchant complaint since the EMV migration started last fall. Fortune says retailers are looking to reduce transaction times to make shopping in physical stores “as easy as possible at a time customers can easily go to Amazon.com.” Walmart, for example, has reduced checkout times by 11 seconds by removing the prompt asking customers to confirm the purchase amount. Christian Science Monitor adds that the saved transaction time makes a difference that “is more than psychological.” A study by JDA Software Group found that “even an extra 8 to 12 seconds per checkout could increase labor costs by $3.2 million.” According to the New York Times, Visa said merchants would not need to get recertified to use the software and that “it was making the update available free to payment intermediaries like processors, terminal manufacturers and other technology partners.” Stephanie Ericksen, the vice president for risk products at Visa, said the new software is compatible with all existing payment hardware and “merchants can download the new software onto their existing payment hardware.”

What Happens Next

Implementation of the software upgrade won’t happen overnight. The AP reports that Visa said the software upgrade will be introduced over the next six months.

What This Means For Small Businesses

Small businesses always bear the brunt of costs associated with major technology changes. In the case of EMV technology, businesses have had to upgrade card readers or risk being held liable for fraudulent activity on cards. Visa’s move to upgrade its EMV software is helpful for businesses that have struggled with the implementation of EMV technology.

Additional Reading

Bloomberg News and the Wall Street Journal also cover the story.

Note: this article is intended to keep small business owners up on the latest news. It does not necessarily represent the policy stances of NFIB.

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