Tick tock, tick tock, the Oct. 1 EMV deadline is almost here.
While the big box retailers are already equipped for the change, the real test will be how many small business make the switch. And if the new survey results from Software Advice, a reviews hub for POS systems, are any indication, the EMV small business battle has a long way to go before more SMBs are on board.
Its latest survey shows that only 22 percent of SMB retailers are actually prepared to meet the EMV deadline. The survey also shows that less than a fourth of small retailers are currently EMV-compliant and that 23 percent in the non-compliant group have said that EMV is “unnecessary.”
“Small businesses risk devastating consequences if they aren’t prepared. This is especially true if they are running on tight margins to begin with. Once the liability shift occurs, if the proprietor accepts a fraudulent charge via swipe, they will be held liable for that charge if the terminal is not EMV-compliant,” Mark Ranta, senior solution consultant for retail banking at ACI, told Forbes.
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“The shift moves the liability from the issuing bank to the merchant, so the consequences are more of the roulette variety — they could be devastating, or they could be a non-event,” Ranta explained.
The survey showed that another 22 percent said they were moderately confident that they would meet the EMV deadline; 17 percent were minimally confident; 13 percent were extremely confident; 11 percent were very confident; 9 percent weren’t confident at all and 7 percent were unaware of the deadline. Of those who haven’t adopted EMV, 34 percent said they haven’t had time to research and implement the system, 33 percent said it’s too expensive and 10 percent said they don’t know about EMV.
“I think there has been a sense that [merchants] were just going to ignore this. They didn’t believe it was going to happen, or they just put it out of their mind because they had more important things to worry about,” Randy Vanderhoof, executive director of the Smart Card Alliance, wrote in the report.
[bctt tweet=”33 percent of SMBs said EMV is too expensive to adopt; 10 percent don’t even know about EMV.”]
“Anybody [who is] saying ‘I have no intention of ever upgrading to EMV’ might change their tune a month later, once they get socked with a large chargeback that they’ve never seen before,” Vanderhoof continued.
On the other end of the EMV deadline issue is the fact that most consumers are reporting that they don’t have EMV cards. This particular study shows that nearly two-thirds of consumers haven’t been issued EMV cards. The survey results show that 62 percent of consumers don’t have the cards yet, 24 percent who have them have used them, and 14 percent said they have the cards but haven’t used them.
“The manufacturers who are supplying the cards to the U.S. financial institutions are all saying that at, or very close to, 50 percent of the total cards in the market will have EMV by the end of the year; about 600 million out of the 1.2 billion will be in market,” Vanderhoof said.
The survey results, however, point to a reason that shows why most single-store retailers aren’t EMV-compliant: They don’t have a POS system in place. That’s also another pain point those in the payments industry would argue needs to change.
“First and foremost, businesses need to be talking to their point of sale (POS) providers. Be it a bank, processor or non-traditional vendor like Square or Intuit, they need to discuss the liability shift and what options are available in terms of a POS terminal upgrade, as well as if one is necessary or not,” Ranta said.