EMV Compliance Deadline for Gas Stations Update

Gas pump station

The deadline for EMV compliance for gas stations has come and gone; it was April 17, 2021. This due date was extended from October 2015, initially, to October 2017 to give gas station owners time to get their outdoor pump card readers compliant. It was extended a second time to October 2020.

Yet, the global COVID-19 pandemic caused concern for gas station owners, so the deadline was moved a third time to April 17, 2021. As of this deadline, about 48% of gas stations were compliant. For those gas stations that have not made the switch to EMV, you will want to do so as soon as possible.

What is EMV?

Europay, Mastercard, Visa or EMV is a global standard to help reduce the risks of fraudulent activity by increasing the security of credit cards and debit cards through the use of a microchip embedded in the card. Instead of the magnetic stripe on the back, the microchip is better equipped at encrypting personal data and keeping it more secure.

How do EMV transactions work?

EMV card transactions are processed much like traditional magnetic stripe transactions with a few exceptions. Rather than swiping the card through the card reader, the customer inserts their card into a chip card reader.

The machine communicates with the EMV chip and creates a one-time unique payment code that cannot be used again. Once the payment code is issued, it is processed like traditional card payments to obtain authorization. Some EMV cards also require customers to input a PIN as a secondary layer of protection. 

Is there a liability shift for non-compliance with EMV?

When EMV standards took effect for other retailers back in October 2015, including convenience store owners, Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover approved that the card brands and banks which issued their cards would no longer be responsible for fraudulent transactions from merchants that were not EMV-compliant.

In fact, fuel merchants with convenience stores have had EMV installed for in-store transactions since October 2015 if not longer. The only thing fuel stations still needed to do was to convert to EMV at the fuel pumps. With the EMV deadline now past due, those fuel stations that do not have EMV at the pump are now liable for any fraudulent charges obtained through the payment terminals at the fuel pumps.

What are some challenges of switching to EMV?

The biggest challenge facing gas stations since EMV debuted is the cost of converting automated fuel dispenser card readers to EVM technology. Some gas stations have other upgrades that need to be completed before they can even think about EMV.

For example, some stations have older pumping systems that would need to be upgraded to be compatible with EMV. They may also have to install new data terminals, data wires, routers, etc. to ensure secure transmission of card data.

Unlike indoor equipment, gas station owners have multiple pumps they would need to upgrade. For instance, most fuel pumps are two-sided to allow access to both sides. So, each pump would need two EMV card readers installed.

Now multiply this by the number of pumps the station has, and you can quickly see that the costs of upgrading can be rather costly. However, with the deadline being delayed numerous times, gas stations have had several years to make the transition to EMV to address the costs of converting. 

Are gas stations required by law to upgrade to be EMV-compliant?

Gas stations are not bound by law to be EMV-compliant. Card issuers will still process transactions from pump payment terminals. Yet, the station owners will assume all liability for any fraudulent transactions.

Why should gas station owners proceed with the EMV upgrade?

The use of card skimmers at automated fuel dispensers has been on the rise since EMV technology started rolling out in the U.S. The problem has become a major issue to the point the Secret Service has gotten involved in monitoring and tracking down skimmers.

With the deadline past, any skimmers that collect card data which is used for fraudulent activity traced back to a gas station pump will now become the liability of the station owner, even when charges are made online since their station was where the card data was collected.

What are some EMV benefits?

The biggest benefit is not being held accountable or liable for fraudulent transactions. For station owners that put off converting due to the costs, some of the newer technologies are marking it easier, as they are becoming easier to integrate into older POS systems.

How can you accommodate customers without EMV cards?

If your gas station has upgraded to EMV-compliant chip card readers at your pumps, customers who have cards without the EMV chips can still swipe their cards to get gas. Instead of your station being held responsible for fraudulent transactions, the card issuers are held accountable since they have not issued new cards with the embedded chips.

How to Get Help to Upgrade to EMV Standards at the Pump

If you still have not upgraded your gas station pumps to EMV readers, you can get help from Adept Payments. We offer a wide range of solutions to assist in converting your pumps to outfit them with EMV chip technology, as well as simplified and affordable approaches to processing payments. For further information, please feel free to contact us at 888-732-3838 today!

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