EMV cards have been in a talking point for the last couple of years. In 2015 card companies started switching over to EMV “chip” cards. Two years later we’ve all seen these cards, and probably have at least one by now. The chip side of an EMV card gets inserted into a credit card machine ensuring a more secure transfer. This is due to the fact that fraudsters can recreate magnetic stripes but not EMV chips, therefore making them harder to steal and use. Now that merchants have had two years to switch to EMV capable credit card machines, many merchant services providers including Heartland Payments will start implementing EMV non-acceptance fees.
EMV Non-Acceptance fees
In November Heartland Payments, one of the largest merchant services providers in the US, will start charging $299 EMV non-acceptance fees to it’s customers who do not yet accept EMV payments. This may not seem like a big issue – just get a new credit card machine, right? Wrong. Many merchants have point of sale systems that they have put tens of thousands of dollars into that do not accept EMV chip cards. That leaves the merchant with a large bill to upgrade their point of sale system that they may have just purchased and are most likely still in a contract for. The other options are A) adding on an EMV pin pad to the existing point of sale system which may cost hundreds of dollars and will remove integrated payment processing from the point of sale system or B) pay the EMV non-acceptance fee. Unfortunately, paying the fee may be the cheapest option besides the fact that you will be forced to upgrade to EMV at some point.
Why are merchant services providers charging EMV non-acceptance fees?
Well, it depends on how you look at it. The banks are saying it’s an incentive to switch over to EMV because EMV is safer for both the merchant and the customer. Others see it as a money grab – just another fee that merchant services providers can charge for.
It does make sense that EMV payment processing is safer, but it doesn’t make sense that the shift to EMV should cost merchants hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars. Many merchants don’t even have a need for the upgrade for example; if they are already keying in transactions on a non EMV capable terminal, or are low risk of counterfeit and fraud such as charities or religious organizations. Such companies shouldn’t be charged for EMV non-acceptance.
As for those who do need the upgrade, payment processing and merchant services companies should provide compliant hardware without cost to the customer. Here’s the good news; the non-acceptance fee isn’t mandatory in the industry. Some payment processing companies are making sure their customers are taken care of free of charge.
Can I get out of paying?
Yes. Merchants can easily switch their payment processing to a company, like Host Merchant Services, that will not charge you an EMV non-acceptance fee. You will probably end up with a better rate and spending less overall by making a switch. Even if a merchant has a point of sale system with another company, the payment processing can most likely be switched to another service provider that won’t charge an EMV fee. If you don’t know if your payment processing company is going to charge you, give them a call and find out. Many companies hide EMV compliance fees in their contracts and you might not know until it’s too late.
Are EMV compliance and PCI compliance the same thing?
PCI compliance has to do with secure processing of cards, not accepting EMV. For example, using tokenization rather than storing customer data in your system has to do with PCI compliance. EMV compliance is just having the ability to accept a chip card using a credit card machine that accepts EMV chip cards.
How is Host Merchant Services handling EMV compliance?
Good business practices.
Host Merchant Services values their customers and make sure that all of them are EMV compliant at no cost. If they have a point of sale system that can’t accept EMV, Host Merchant Services will find a solution. Merchants are never charged hidden fees and we don’t try to get extra money from our customers. In fact we have a lowest cost guarantee. We will match or beat any company or you get $100.
Host Merchant Services also offer Bonsai point of Sale systems, all of which accept electronic payments including EMV, NFC, Apple Pay, Android Pay and PayPal.