More than 1.7 million merchants accept chip cards today, 388 million Visa chip cards have been issued in the U.S. and across chip-enabled merchants there’s been a 43% reduction of counterfeit fraud, according to Visa.
The date when liability for fraudulent transactions at gas pumps—for those not equipped with (Europay, Mastercard, Visa) EMV chip technology—shifts to retailers has moved from Oct. 2, 2017 to Oct. 1, 2020.
The total fuel dispenser EMV upgrade spend is estimated at more than $7 billion in the U.S., noted Perry Kramer, senior vice president and practice lead at consulting firm Boston Retail Partners (BRP). C-stores can use this upgrade to leverage beacon technology or mobile phones linked to payments and loyalty.
Steve Magestro, president of Mad Max Convenience Stores, based in Saukville Wis., noted many of his 10 locations have switched to EMV. “You have to go with the times and make things easier for your customers in service and protection.”
Because the process is being driven by major fuel brands Magestro expects all stores to be converted to EMV by the end of 2018. “It’s going fine. I wish we could have done all the stores at once, but again, the majors are driving the bus on this and we have to do it when they say.”
THE NEXT FRONTIER
BRP’s “2018 POS/Customer Engagement Benchmarking Survey” noted 62% of retailers plan to increase their use of mobile devices at the POS at the end of 2019.
“The use of self-service, pre-ordering, and closed loop/private-label payment systems will continue to expand at a very aggressive rate,” said Kramer.
Kramer forecasts a near-term shift from physical cards to a proliferation of mobile programs that link a consumer’s credit card account to a closed-loop token/barcode on their phone, which “enables greater customer relationship management and product segmentation data for retailers to use to increase customer loyalty and retention.”
He advised c-stores should build apps where the customer’s credit card and the brand’s loyalty card are linked to a single bar code in the app. “This helps cement loyalty, speeds up checkout, reduces the cost of plastic loyalty cards and adds convenience to the customer’s experience.”
Westborough, Mass.-based Cumberland Farms, which combines loyalty and payment in its SmartPay Check-Link app, first launched the app five years ago and recently redesigned it.
“SmartPay Check-Link facilitates ACH (automated clearing house) transactions with the customer’s checking account or Netspend account,” said Charles Jarrett, chief information officer at Cumberland Farms, which operates more than 600 stores in eight states.
SmartPay uses location services/geotracking. Customers enter a PIN in the SmartPay app before a fuel transaction or via the PIN pad in-store.