EMV Watch: Speed Up Checkout this Holiday Season

The holiday shopping season officially kicked off this past Friday as retailers launched their Black Friday sales. While retailers have been honing their holiday sales processes for years, the transition to EMV has the potential to throw off the delicate balance of customer support, fraud protection, and checkout speeds that retailers are used too. The ever-increasing list of EMV enabled retailers and the uptick in re-issuance of EMV cards following Oct 1 means that some shoppers may be conducting their first chip-based transaction during the holiday shopping rush. In addition to the infancy of EMV in the US, the differences in checkout processes and configurations for both EMV enabled stores and EMV capable (but not enabled) stores are likely to confuse shoppers.
In retail, seconds matter. A slow-down in the checkout process can cost major retailers millions. In order to educate retail employees and facilitate a smooth check-out process, we have assembled a list of best EMV check-out best practices.

  • Ensure your cashiers are able to identify an EMV and non-EMV card as it is presented for payment. This will allow your cashier to guide the customer to the correct entry method the first time.
    • This is valuable for both EMV enabled retailers who want to prevent an unnecessary swipe and non-EMV enabled (but with EMV capable terminals) who want to prevent an unnecessary card dip.
  • Re-educate your front line staff on the proper way to dip an EMV card into the payment terminal and the proper sequencing of events in an EMV transaction.
  • Verify any customer facing terminal prompting is clear and concise.
  • Verify that cashiers are familiar with the terminal set up for technical fallback.
    • If a chip cannot be read by a terminal, employees should be aware of the required number of failed dips before the terminal reverts to technical fallback and accepts a swipe of an EMV card.
  • Create safeguards to prevent cards left in the terminal and processes to secure cards that are left in the store.
    • Preventing the printing of a receipt and utilizing terminal alerts (beeps, prompting) until an EMV card is removed from the terminal is effective in reducing left-behind EMV cards.
    • Creating and educating staff on the process for securing and retrieving left behind cards will minimize the time to retrieve them and give a boost to customer satisfaction.

Holiday shopping tends to be stressful for all parties involved. By following the best practices above, retailers can get the greatest gift of all: a reduction of checkout times, an increase in customer satisfaction, and a decrease of stress on its staff.

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