NACS Asks for Delay of EMV Deadline

Retailers ask card networks to postpone the October AFD liability shift amid the COVID-19 crisis.

March 24, 2020

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Fuel retailers have just 190 days to meet the EMV liability shift deadline for automated fuel dispensers (AFDs). Yet with the growing coronavirus crisis and its ensuing disruption to the workforce and supply chain, the October 1 deadline is becoming more and more insurmountable for many retailers. Yesterday, NACS sent joint association letters to the four major card networks asking them to delay the deadline given the extreme circumstances retailers are facing.

“Our retailers’ top priority at this time is providing fuel and other products to the Americans who need it most and keeping its employees and customers safe and healthy. Given the significant impediments to many retailers getting AFDs and appropriate software that accept EMV payments developed, tested, certified and installed, we respectfully request that you delay the AFD liability shift and set a new, achievable date for that transition once the current crisis has abated,” state the letters.

The COVID-19 crisis is impeding retailers’ ability to get EMV equipment installed and certified. With a growing number of “shelter in place” executive orders and company policies of social distancing, many vendors are unable to visit stores to perform those functions. In addition, retailers who are replacing their AFDs must work with local governments to schedule site surveys and inspections, but most local governments are closed or are teleworking, or soon will be.

The coronavirus’ full effects on the global supply chain have yet to be seen in the United States. There have been reports that some overseas factories had to close production or reduce hours, resulting in a delay of EMV inventory. “While some report factories are reopening, the downstream effect on the supply chain may delay the availability of AFD dispensers necessary for EMV acceptance,” states the letter.

Given the drastic strain on the workforce and economy due to COVID-19, the retail associations are asking the major payment networks—Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover—to wait to determine an appropriate EMV liability shift deadline once the COVID-19 crisis has passed. It is now up to the networks to grant this delay.

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