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The Green Sheet Online Edition

December 26, 2016 • Issue 16:12:02

Gas station EMV deadline reset to 2020

Merchants with automated fuel dispensers will have another three years to prepare for the EMV (Europay, Mastercard and Visa) liability shift. Visa Inc. and Mastercard confirmed Dec. 1, 2016, that fuel pump operators will have until Oct. 1, 2020, to upgrade pay-at-the-pump systems to chip card readers. The original deadline had been set for Oct. 1, 2017. The decision to move the deadline was based on the enormity of tasks related to the upgrade effort, Visa and Mastercard stated.

"The fuel segment has its own unique challenges, which we recognized when we first set the chip activation date for automated fuel dispensers/pumps (AFDs) two years after regular in-store locations," Visa stated on its website. "We knew that the AFD segment would need more time to upgrade to chip because of the complicated infrastructure and specialized technology required for fuel pumps."

Sharing a similar perspective, Mastercard stated, "EMV compliance for fuel merchants with Automatic Fuel Dispensers brings significant regulatory and implementation challenges. Over the past months, we have had extensive discussions with fuel merchants, issuers, acquirers and other stakeholders regarding these unique challenges. Today, Mastercard is modifying the automatic fuel dispenser liability shift date from October 2017 to October 2020. This decision applies only to automated fuel pumps."

Infrastructure, supply chain issues

It can be significantly more expensive to upgrade a gas pump POS than an in-store retail POS, payments analysts have stated. Fuel pump POS terminals require state-level certification to confirm the pumps are accurately dispensing fuel and correctly charging customers in compliance with government guidelines. A modification, such as adding a chip card reader to a gas pump, may necessitate having the entire gas pump recertified.

Visa additionally noted the high costs of updating legacy infrastructure. Many gas station owners will need to drill through concrete and hire third-party experts to rip out old equipment, Visa pointed out. Furthermore, EMV-compliant hardware has been difficult to come by, due to supply chain issues and delays in device manufacturer certifications.

ETA supportive

The Electronic Transactions Association issued a statement Dec. 1, 2016, praising the card brands for recognizing AFD merchants' unique challenges and extending EMV liability shift deadlines.

"Fuel pumps often feature integrated payments terminals, requiring in many cases the replacement of an entire pump, which can involve significant costs, environmental permitting and heavy construction," the ETA wrote in support of the reprieve. "Taking into account the migration challenges and relatively low fraud at AFDs, the card network liability shift deferment is a positive and balanced action supporting merchants and industry EMV migration efforts."

The ETA is confident the extended deadline will also enable AFD merchants to implement emerging mobile payment schemes. The association vowed to continue its industrywide efforts to move to advanced EMV technology while collaboratively fighting fraud on behalf of its members and the extended payments community.

Further cooperation planned

Visa and Mastercard reaffirmed their commitment to working closely with fuel merchants and petroleum supply chain partners on the EMV chip migration. The card brands are promoting initiatives designed to mitigate fraud while upgrade efforts are underway.

Mastercard introduced its Decision Intelligence suite of products, a comprehensive set of digital tools and artificial intelligence. Its real-time approvals and rejection of false declines are expected to improve transaction transparency for card issuers while enhancing the overall consumer shopping experience.

Visa is promoting Visa Transaction Advisor (VTA), an analytics and risk-scoring tool that uses existing pump hardware and software to rate transactions and detect anomalies. The service directs questionable patrons inside the store to complete transactions. Research has shown that most criminals will drive away rather than go into a store, the company said.

"More than 53,000 gas stations that use VTA have experienced more than a 50 percent decrease in both counterfeit and lost and stolen fraud," Visa stated. "Based on the realities of the current issues fuel merchants face and the critical long-term need for the industry to adopt chip as a solution for counterfeit fraud, we believe these changes are a balanced and manageable way to ensure a successful migration to chip."

It is unclear at this writing if the card brands will consider extending the EMV liability shift deadline for the ATM industry. The ATM supply chain has been adversely affected by an international shipping crisis, which caused significant delays in product shipments and certifications. ATM stakeholders have appealed to the card brands for an extension. Mastercard's EMV liability shift deadline for ATM providers became effective in October 2016; Visa's is set for October 2017. end of article

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