Studies Show Small Businesses Slow to Act on EMV


In July 2015, results from a Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index survey showed that only 32% of small business owners were aware of the upcoming EMV liability shift and mere 29% of small business merchants intended to upgrade before the due date. Now, with the October 1st deadline already come and gone, the numbers don’t seem to be approving.

Although 34% of merchants indicated that they would upgrade at some point in the future, it seems that the majority of small businesses are slow to act despite the looming penalties they would incur should they accept a fraudulent transaction.  Despite the industries push to better inform business owners of the EMV liability shift in the last year, the numbers are showing that it simply wasn’t enough.  VP and GM of North American Financial Services Group, Verifone Shan Ethridge expanded on this in a recent article for , telling MPD CEO Karen Webster, “What I think it reflects is a significant gap in awareness and understanding…in the marketplace with SMBs. I think, as an industry, we really need to take a look at the effectiveness  and the intensity of the efforts to educate the market segment on the impact of the liability shift -and just as importantly, how consumer expectations will actually shift when they get used to using EMV  cards at major retailers.”

Another explanation for the lack of haste in upgrading could be that many small businesses feel they are too small to be targeted by fraudulent entities. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.  According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiner’s 2012 survey Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse, small businesses are decidedly more likely to neglect basic anti-fraud practices that could save them significant financial losses, especially now that the EMV deadline has passed and liability for fraudulent transactions now falls on the merchant instead of the banks. Ethridge suggests that business owners should go back to look at records of any previous card fraud that has taken place in the business. “…really get a good sense of the financial impact they’re exposing themselves to. And in some cases, it could bankrupt the business.”

Equipment upgrade cost is another valid concern for merchants considering the switch.  Although upgrades to EMV chip card compatible payment devices can range in price,  financial consequences associated with accepting a fraudulent card without EMV compliant equipment can greatly outweigh the cost of upgrading. There are many affordable options for EMV compliant point-of-sale systems to choose from, sporting recent advancements in technology to benefit your business and increase your revenue. Higher value systems like the Clover Mini tablet POS system are becoming more and more affordable, their versatility consistently proving that they are worth the investment.

When it comes to fraud protection for you and your clients, there is nothing more important. Not having the proper equipment required to accept EMV chip cards can not only make your business vulnerable to fraudulent purchases but could affect customer loyalty as consumers get used to using EMV at larger retailers. “…smaller merchants that don’t accept EMV today could be at a disadvantage if they become viewed as a less secure option for the customer.” Says Ethridge. “At a minimum, that could erode consumer confidence and reduce customer loyalty -which could be just as devastating as bearing the cost of fraud for not being EMV capable.”

Our take? Better safe than sorry.


To find out more about EMV compliant equipment like the Clover Mini, visit

Source: : Preparing Small Businesses for the EMV Deadline by Karen Webster; April 30th, 2015

Source: Journal of Accountancy : Small Business, Big Risk by Ken Tysiac; July 21st, 2012

Source: Wells Fargo Small Business Index: Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index Survey  ; July 2012

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