CEO Insights: It’s time to address slow EMV transactions

One of the most common complaints we hear about EMV is the lengthy transaction times compared with standard swipes. While it’s easy to dismiss these complaints, it’s true that, in retail settings, keeping customers happy and moving through the checkout lines is very important. EMV migration still has a long way to go, but we did make progress this year. As we enter the holiday season, customers will be more likely to experience slow checkout times and potentially frustrating shopping experiences.

To address the complaint about slow checkouts, both Visa and Mastercard have each released new technologies that are intended to speed things up. Visa’s new technology is called QuickChip and Mastercard’s is called M/Chip Fast. Both technologies emulate the mag-stripe experience, including the faster transaction. Here are some important facts regarding these Quick EMV solutions:

  • Visa and Mastercard’s Quick EMV solutions only apply to POS systems. They are not intended for ATM implementations
  • These new methodologies maintain the security of EMV and have no impact on merchant liability
  • Quick EMV enables customers to enter their card at any point during the checkout process, even if the final amount of the goods or services is not yet known
  • Not only will customers be able to insert their card at any point, they will also be able to remove their card before the transaction outcome is known, meaning that customers’ cards will spend more time in their pockets and less time in payment terminals. Being able to pay for the goods while they are still being scanned should allow for a greater throughput at checkout lanes
  • Once the final amount is known the terminal goes online as for a deferred authorization
  • These new technologies will not require EMV L2 re-certification
  • Payment terminal software will need to be updated to comply with the Quick EMV methodology
  • Terminals will have to be configured for online transactions only
  • The new methodology will require a new L3 certification for terminals. However, this certification should be less time consuming than a normal L3 certification

With the holiday season upon us, it would be great if these new quicker methods were widely available. However, as deployment of Quick EMV requires new payment terminal software and new certifications, it will take some time before it sees broad usage.

On a related point, certifications have been a historical roadblock to more widespread EMV adoption. Thankfully, Visa and Mastercard recently relaxed their certification test requirements. Indeed, Mastercard has reduced its test suite by 58 percent and Visa has reduced its test requirements from 35 to 14 test scripts. In all, this should lead to about twice as many certifications making it through within a given time period, easing the pressures on the industry pick up the pace of EMV migration.

Insights from Lars Pedersen, Creditcall CEO

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