Mobile payment technology and going paperless will impact point-of-sale (POS) and back office trends in 2015. But, the big focus this year for convenience stores is the Oct. 1, 2015 deadline to become compliant with EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) chip technology.
U.S. retailers are expected to spend more than $8 billion on POS devices, ATMs and credit/debit cards to convert to the EMV standard, according to a study by Javelin Strategy and Research.
The cost to retailers is staggering, but convenience store stakeholders have expressed their commitment to maintaining security standards and are among the leading industries to adopt new POS technology.
Flash Foods Inc., which has 172 stores in Georgia and Florida, has used scanning, POS and back office technology since 1997.
“With scanning at our locations, we also utilize a business intelligence software that allows our marketing, operations, financial and loss prevention departments to get alerts and do reporting on all POS transactions and events,” said Jenny Bullard, chief information officer for Flash Foods.
Flash Foods launched its ‘Rewards in a Flash’ loyalty program in 2005, and in 2008 introduced an Automated Clearing House (ACH) payment card called ‘Go Blue.’
“That allows us to process payment outside of the credit card processors, eliminating credit card interchange fees. In 2014, we launched our Flash Foods Mobile App that enables mobile payment with Go Blue,” she said.
More convenience stores are offering mobile payment options through their own cards as well as outside mobile systems, like ApplePay. “Mobile is the future of payments,” said Stephen Orfei, general manager, PCI Security Standards Council. “It’s exciting to see its potential being realized securely with recent advancements in the space and use of technologies like tokenization.”
Orfei said EMV chip migration is a great opportunity for convenience stores to look at overall POS terminal security and technology.
“The PCI PIN Transaction Security standard provides robust security protections and a secure foundation for businesses to accept new payment technologies—such as mobile—and take advantage of additional security layers like point-to-point encryption and tokenization,” Orfei said.
Flash Foods is among the many convenience store companies already in the throes of EMV migration.
“To meet the October EMV deadline we are installing EMV capable pin pads in all our locations. There will need to be updates to our POS and our credit card processor software to make EMV work,” Bullard said. “As for the October 2017 deadline for fuel pumps, we are still in the planning stages to meet that deadline. Because of older pumps at some our locations that will have to be replaced, the cost for meeting that deadline is concerning.”
Security will continue to be a factor in all POS and back office decisions within the convenience store industry.
“With rules and regulations from PCI changing every year as we have seen with PCI 3.0 updates, software and segregation of the credit card environment will continue to challenge the software solutions companies as well as retailers that use their product,” Bullard said.