A Kinder, Gentler EMV

A third-party outdoor payment terminal provider alleviates financial investment, and its open system creates new opportunity. 

August 10, 2020

This interview was brought to you by support from Invenco. InvencoLogo-2color-R-(4).png

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Retailers are looking for ways to achieve EMV compliance at automated fuel dispensers. To help c-store owners in this quest, NACS Magazine recently interviewed Dan Harrell, chief innovation officer, Invenco, on options to achieve EMV compliance at the pump. 

Q: By April 2021, retailers must upgrade their dispenser and POS equipment or be held liable for any fraudulent activity that occurs because the dispenser has not been upgraded. But for many retailers upgrading to EMV is a nonstarter since the switch can be expensive, tedious and painful. What options are out there for these retailers? 

Dan-Harrell_BW-300-(1).jpgA: Although they have dominated the market for decades, Outdoor Payment Terminals (OPTs) manufactured and distributed by big name dispenser companies are not the most convenient or cost-effective solutions available today. These proprietary offerings, which are built and sold as a bundled unit including hydraulics and the OPT, are expensive, difficult to install, and become outdated quickly as payment technology progresses.

Instead, retailers should look to third-party OPT providers. These providers have decades of experience in the payments industry and with EMV globally. They utilize retrofit kits, which install OPTs into a site’s working pumps of any model. The installation process is significantly faster, requires no permits, digging up concrete or rewiring. The cost is substantially less, with rental models to alleviate the burden of a huge upfront investment on EMV also available. Rental models may even be all-inclusive, meaning maintenance and warranty are covered—with no more “surprise” invoices for broken parts or servicing.

Q: And haven’t Europe and Asia solved for de-bundling and outdoor EMV already?

A: Yes. Believe it or not the U.S. is late to catch up when it comes to outdoor EMV. Asia and Malaysia introduced EMV in 2004, and the U.K. in 2013. Invenco has worked on EMV installs in these countries as far back as 2005, yielding significantly lower fraud since implementation. When it comes to OPT purchasing, almost 100% of the U.K. market favors a de-bundled approach. The Malaysian and Asian markets prefer the same, with more retailers moving away from purchasing OPTs from pump manufacturers and instead buying from third-party providers. In Malaysia and Singapore, Invenco worked on an EMV installation with Shell, which illustrated the ease of retrofit kit installation: 1,000 sites were upgraded to EMV over the course of nine months.

Q: Many retailers believe that once they make the investment in EMV, they’ll need to do it again in a few years when the environment changes again. How can retailers guard against future disruption?

A: This is a valid concern as EMV and PCI regulations update on a regular basis. The first step to future-proofing a site is to purchase your OPTs from a payments company. Payments companies are continuously tracking and developing solutions for the industry’s ever-changing regulations and consumer trends. When compliance regulations change, payments companies can distribute software updates via the cloud with no service reps needed on site. Within the rental model previously mentioned, OPT compliance is managed by the provider, relieving the retailer of the responsibility to track compliance regulations. This also relates back to the retrofit kit model. The Shell sites that were upgraded to EMV have since utilized three versions of Invenco’s all-in-one OPT (the G5, G6-100 and G6-300) since their initial installation, all without ever getting new pumps.

Q: Adjacent industries, such as Quick-Service Restaurants (QSRs), have benefitted from a more open system. Can we learn anything from them?

A: Absolutely. Choosing a provider with an open system (or open API) creates more opportunity for what retailers can do with their OPTs and makes establishing functionalities significantly easier. Innovative third parties can implement features like media, food ordering and loyalty, which plug into the open architecture. An open API protects against future changes as functionality can be added or updated as the retail landscape progresses. An example of this was seen with the COVID-19 epidemic when many sites wanted to implement curbside pickup of store items. In the past, functionality to order store items may only have available via the site’s Point of Sale (POS) system, but with an open API OPT, an application could be developed and implemented so that a customer could order those food items directly from the OPT.

Q: What else can retailers do to ensure they stay engaged and current with EMV, standards and other critical retail issues?

A: Industry organizations that make payments a priority are important for retailers to involve themselves with. Conexxus is a non-profit, member-driven organization for the convenience store and retail fuel marketing industry which provides insightful resources on the forefront of the EMV and payments space. Engaging with organizations like Conexxus (www.conexxus.org) will keep retailers in the know for coming trends like contactless payment and other consumer tendencies. Invenco also has a series of resources on our blog at www.invenco.com/news, as well as a Convenience Matters podcast recently co-hosted with NACS (www.conveniencematters.com titled “#230 EMV Upgrades Made Easier”) which provide helpful insights into EMV and OPT topics.