EMV Readiness Program

EMV Readiness Program

The third part of this series introduces the Choice Merchant Solutions EMV Readiness Program – part of a combined incentive program to shift businesses to chip-and-pin capable hardware as quickly as possible. The goal of this program is to secure customer payments and transactions, but we have found a way to benefit businesses as well.

Last time, we described the landscape for merchants. The final entry in this series will lift the veil that shrouds EMV and ensure that readers, clients, and customers are aware of the actions they can take to protect their payment card information.

What is EMV?

EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard, Visa – the three founding members of the chip-and-pin standard. In uncomplicated terms, adopting the EMV standard will increase security by utilizing a chip installed on new credit cards to validate and authenticate transactions. The EMV standard is managed by EMVCo, which was founded by the above companies.


Unfortunately, the United States is one of the last countries to adopt EMV technology, and the price we have paid is very high. These two events show how serious EMV adoption is, especially after 2013 being the worst year in history for data breaches. If you haven’t already, read the second post in this series here.

The Liability Shift

In October 2015, Visa, MasterCard and American express will implement a liability shift – merchants will be held for insecure card-present transactions. Visa, MasterCard, and American express have stated that businesses with EMV deployment will be protected from this liability.

What does this mean for merchants?

By October 2015, merchants will need to have the capability to accept EMV cards, or they will be held liable for fraudulent transactions. Conversely, card issuers will be held liable for fraudulent transactions if the cards they issue are not EMV capable. Caroyln Balfany of MasterCard explains it very well:

So if a merchant is still using the old system, they can still run a transaction with a swipe and a signature. But they will be liable for any fraudulent transactions if the customer has a chip card. And the same goes the other way – if the merchant has a new terminal, but the bank hasn’t issued a chip and PIN card to the customer, the bank would be liable.

Carolyn Balfany

Recent Events



Since this series was started, several other large corporations have been breached, including Dairy Queen and K-mart. Serious failures in data security such as these cost millions in damages, repairs, and inevitable upgrades, while hemorrhaging customer trust. Small businesses do not have the assets or scale to absorb attacks in the same way that these companies do, so data security is even more important for Main Street.

White House

In the past week, universal EMV acceptance has gained support from the highest power in the land. President Obama signed an executive order last Friday starting the “Buy Secure” Initiative, which will protect customer information, begin the transition of government issued-cards to chip-and-pin technology, and motivate Congress to pass data breach and cybersecurity legislation.


American Express, the most exclusive credit card issuer, is offering financial incentives for small businesses in order to spur adoption of a more secure method of processing transactions. The program is very accessible, only requiring that merchants have EMV compliant hardware, be located in the United States, and process less than $3 million in annual American Express charge volume.

The cost of this program is astronomical, and the cost of upgrading thousands of major retailers to chip-and-pin enabled credit card readers is even higher. Thankfully, Main Street businesses do not have to deal with this; all they have to do is contact their merchant services provider and purchase an equipment upgrade.

How can I accept EMV cards?

You need an EMV-ready terminal. Most merchant services companies should be able to provide you with one, especially considering the popularity of the topic. Take a look at our merchant processing options and fill out the form and one of our agents will reach out to you shortly. You can also call us directly for more information.

Choice Merchant Solutions EMV Readiness Program

The Choice Merchant Solutions EMV Readiness Program is designed for proactive business owners that want to stay ahead of the curve, protect their customer’s data, and reduce expenses.


Our program starts with the proper hardware. We use the Verifone VX 520, a dual communication terminal that comes equipped to handle EMV right out of the box. The VX 520 offers enhanced security features and can communicate through a phone line or an Ethernet connection, making it ideal for any business.

Our clients have given us positive feedback on the device. The VX520 is much faster than its predecessor, a key factor in moving customers quickly and efficiently. Employees like it as well. The user interface is a vast improvement from the previous model, and commonly used functions are intuitively placed and easily accessible.

In addition to VX 520 terminal, the EMV Readiness Program includes an unprecedented 4 year rate lock.

This offer is only available for a limited time.

Worried that there’s no point in upgrading when nobody has the card? Not a problem. Here is alist of card issuers that have already begun to send consumers EMV ready cards. Look in your wallet, you may already have one!

For more information, you can email us at info@choiceinc.biz or call us at 860-507-1294.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for more information concerning the safety of your information, and be sure to use the hashtag #EMVReady.