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EMV Migration - What it Means for Practices

June 21, 2019 3180

What is EMV?

EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard® and VISA®. It’s the sophisticated integrated-circuit (IC) “chip” technology that will eventually replace the magnetic stripe on credit cards that has been the standard in the United States since 1960. EMV technology uses dynamic data (versus static data that is on a magnetic stripe and is easily stolen these days) and will reduce credit card fraud and identity theft. EMV has already replaced magnetic-stripe cards in 60 countries  (including Canada and most of Europe), and the card associations (such as Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express) have all announced phase-in plans for the EMV technology for the United States.

Timeline.

Credit card issuers began issuing cards with EMV chips starting in 2013. Processors were next, requiring them to have the technology in place to accept merchants who were utilizing EMV transactions by April 2013. Acceptance of EMV will not technically be mandated for practices that accept credit or debit cards, but a shift in fraud liability begins October 2015. All businesses must be ready to process EMV on their point-of-payment devices or be ready to accept liability from fraudulent transaction through EMV cards.

This means if your practice uses a magnetic-swipe terminal to process a chip card, you will be responsible for the cost of the transaction if someone uses a lost or stolen credit card in your office.

Equipment.

Contact your card processor to find out what you will need to do. If you’ve upgraded your terminal in the last few years, you might already have EMV-ready equipment but just need to turn it on. Or you might need new equipment. Shop around. This might be a great opportunity to evaluate your current processor, see Evaluating a Merchant Credit Card Processor Checklist for more information.

You will also want to consider the software that tie into your point-of-sale terminals. Ensure that the software is configured for EMV hardware. Lastly, think about training. Patients with EMV cards will insert them into the credit card terminal instead of swiping them. Employees need to know how to accept these different methods of payment.