ALEXANDRIA, Va.—More than 40 million U.S. consumers fill up every day at the pump, and 86% pay for their fuel with a credit or debit card. This week’s episode of Convenience Matters tackles EMV compatibility at the pump. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the EMV liability shift has been moved to April 2021, but that doesn’t mean gasoline retailers can wait to upgrade their pumps.
Not being EMV compliant “creates a potentially economic problem for the business, especially for something like petro that has been fraught with chargebacks and fraud for years,” said William Pittman, senior vice president of the petro channel for Sound Payments Inc. “There’s a huge economic impact that’s going to happen to convenience stores. … If they don’t do it—and this happened in retail—the bad guys find out who’s not upgraded, and they go target them. … The cost of noncompliance for business is going to be huge … and could easily put a business out of business.”
To comply, retailers need to make changes to the fuel dispensers themselves, including the pump’s software. “What’s happening is that there’s a run on the resources out in the field that can do this sort of work, which are the qualified technicians who are authorized to go into pumps and make the necessary changes to comply with the mandate,” said Ray Prothero, vice president of products for Sound Payments. “The pumps are pretty complex inside, … so these are in limited quantity. As we move closer to that deadline, there’s going to be a shortage of their availability in the field.”
In 2019, chargebacks totaled more than $400 million. Retailers have several different options to become compliant—“anywhere from buying brand-new pumps to trying to retrofit your existing pumps,” Pittman said.
For more about EMV compatibility, listen to “Protect Card Payments at the Gas Pump.” Each week a new Convenience Matters episode is released. With more than 200 episodes to choose from, the podcast can be heard on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play and other podcast apps and YouTube and at www.conveniencematters.com. Episodes have been downloaded more than 130,000 times by listeners around the world.