C-Store EMV Upgrade: Why Now is the Time

December 4, 2019

One of the biggest changes coming to gas stations and c-stores is the October 1, 2020 deadline to upgrade at-the-pump card readers to EMV (chip card) technology.

If you’re a c-store owner, then you’re surely aware of the deadline. While there is no legal mandate to upgrade to EMV-compatible readers (meaning you’re technically not required to do it), after the 10/1/2020 deadline the liability for credit card fraud will shift from the card-issuing bank to whichever party in the transaction chain has the least secure technology. If you’re still using EMV-incompatible magnetic swipe readers, that means you.

The transition to EMV technology has already happened just about everywhere credit cards are accepted other than at gas pumps — including inside c-stores. Yet many c-store owners still haven’t made the leap, despite the fact that the deadline has been extended once already. If you’re one of these owners, now is the time to upgrade your at-the-pump systems to EMV. Wait any longer, and it could cost you dearly.

Why You Need to Upgrade Now

Cost vs risk

The primary concern for most c-store owners is the cost of upgrading, especially for locations with older fuel dispensers that may have to be replaced in order to accommodate the new technology. Some owners have even entertained the idea of rolling the dice and putting off upgrading beyond the deadline, questioning whether the cost of fraud chargebacks would really be higher than the cost of an EMV installation.

This is a big gamble. Even if the cost of upgrading now seems high, the risk of being liable for credit card fraud at your establishment is even greater. And as the vast majority of c-stores and gas stations upgrade to at-the-pump EMV readers, fraudsters will have to narrow their targets to the remaining stations that haven’t upgraded. You don’t want to be one of those.

Upgrading takes time

Even though the deadline for upgrading is October 1, 2020 (just under a year from this blog’s publication date), now is the time to move forward. Due to the limited number of technicians who can perform the required work and the multiple, steps involved in upgrading, lead times could be six months or more for locations that haven’t upgraded yet.

After all, upgrading means consulting with vendors to:

Understand your current equipment

  • Determine if it’s possible to retrofit your existing dispensers or whether you need to replace them
  • Establish the requirements for POS hardware or software
  • Verify the method to achieve the higher speed connection required for EMV
  • Validate network readiness
  • Install the new equipment and activate EMV

Your public image is on the line

Convenience may be the name of the game in your industry (after all, it’s literally in the name of your business), but it’s not the only thing that matters. Appearances matter too. Customers notice when you’re the only location in town that doesn’t have the most up-to-date, secure technology. Not only does it make them question the safety of purchasing from your business, it may make them wonder if anything else is out-of-date.

Having EMV readers at the pump sends the message that you’re committed to providing the best and safest experience for your customers, and that you have a healthy, thriving business that can afford to keep up with new and important changes.

How to Upgrade to EMV Successfully

Upgrading your at-the-pump readers to EMV is definitely the sound decision. So how do you make sure that you upgrade as economically and efficiently as possible, while minimizing potential negative outcomes?

The most important thing is to partner with an experienced vendor and service provider with a broad understanding of the industry. This will be by far the most important decision you make.

For one thing, upgrading to EMV is not exactly a one-size-fits-all process for fuel retailers. A service partner who knows the industry inside and out can present you with the best options for your specific business, as well as help you avoid possible pitfalls. This has the potential to save you time, money, and a lot of stress along the way.

Additionally, experienced and well-trained technicians are crucial for completing an efficient EMV installation, limiting the probability of complications, and minimizing downtime. Make sure to partner with a service provider whose technicians have a reputation for timely service and high-quality work.

Contact McCon for More Information About EMV Installation

Since 1993, McCon has provided the highest quality service to fuel retailers across the state of Texas. Our highly-trained technicians distributed throughout our service area set the standard for service and workmanship, consistently rating among the best in the industry. We are certified to work on Wayne, Gilbarco, and Verifone and have worked with all major oil networks, making McCon a one-stop-shop for any and all your EMV needs.

Our knowledge of the fuel retail industry and our commitment to customer success is second to none. If you’re looking to upgrade your at-the-pump systems to EMV compatible technology, we’ll help you get there as quickly and efficiently as possible. Contact us today.