EMV Almost a Reality in the U.S.: What Hoteliers Need to Know
By David Hogan Executive Director of Major Accounts, Heartland Payment Systems | January 20, 2013
Emerging payment technology EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) and NFC (Near Field Communications) may seem like a daunting prospect to U.S. hoteliers, but adopting this new smartcard standard for payments processing will soon become a reality with the move toward greater security by major card issuers. EMV refers to the global standard in secure payments, while NFC addresses the booming trend toward smartphones and mobile marketing in the payments landscape. The twin technologies are especially important to hoteliers planning ahead for new payment acceptance systems in an industry fraught with frequent breaches and a world where guests expect a worry-free, consistent consumer experience.
The move toward EMV smartcard technology is a significant upgrade to the U.S. payments system and every point-of-sale (POS) terminal will need to be replaced or enhanced to accommodate the upgraded security measures. On the brink of this evolution in payments technology, it is critical for hoteliers to ensure that any future investments in payment software or hardware includes the ability to process emerging card payments technologies such as EMV.
What is EMV?
EMV is a payment security approach that goes above and beyond standard static magstripe card data to make the replay of payment transactions impossible by adding dynamic data to the transaction stream. The principal difference between EMV cards and their older magstripe counterparts is a microprocessor chip within the card that makes them nearly impossible to counterfeit economically.
The major U.S. card brands (MasterCard, Visa, American Express and Discover) are focusing on EMV technology to put an end to card counterfeiting, and they have come together to form EMVco, a consortium that includes MasterCard, Visa, American Express and JCB, an international payment brand, and others, to develop and maintain EMV standards with this goal in mind. As incentive to make the move to EMV-enabled payment acceptance systems, the card brands have rolled out programs for merchants and processors to prepare for this critical shift in technology.
Though EMV is new to the U.S., this technology is already being utilized globally to secure card payments, making the U.S. the proverbial sitting duck in regards to transaction and data security. In North America, Canada is nearing completion of its EMV roll-out and Mexico is well underway.