EMV White Paper
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Planning For Successful Merchant Level EMV Implementation

CardWare International



This article outlines the decisions and processes for a successful EMV implementation. 

CardWare has experience completing hundreds of projects on time and on budget along with zero attrition. Planning then executing the plan determines the success of every project.  View every acquiring project an as opportunity to update your merchant portfolio, thereby saving money.


Determine the processor’s strategy for EMV. Create a base line of merchants, applications and hardware requiring change to meet EMV requirements:

  •  Identify which merchants will require hardware replacement.
  •  Determine merchants where you may attach an EMV peripheral to a legacy terminal.
  •  Identity the merchants that have EMV ready terminals that require reprogramming to enable the smart card readers.

Note: Because a terminal has a contact reader slot or the contactless insignia does not guarantee that it is EMV reader.

Further segment the above three segments by:

a.       Profitability

b.      Transaction volume

c.       Volume or percentage of chargebacks

d.      Geographic areas prone to foreign tourism, especially Canadians

Armed with this data you can make informed decisions about your approach to EMV implementation.

Considerations in choosing an approach are:

While competing technologies do battle in the US payment space, the fact remains that contact and contactless EMV have universal, global acceptance. The United States by its late entry negates its size in effecting near term change.

Plan for both contact and contactless EMV implementation.

When do you cease performing like kind exchanges of broken, soon to be obsolete hardware?  Hardware upgrades due to failed hardware should be part of your overall EMV strategy.

Who pays for what?  Identify key merchants to keep no matter the cost, assigning a team to work with them one-on-one.  For which items does the merchant pay then what expenses will your company absorb in meeting EMV requirements?  Similarly, will hardware and services such as the configuration and encryption be a profit center, i.e. have an up charge? 

Have a plan to address “other” applications on your merchant’s existing terminal such as check auth/guarantee, legal age, prepaid and more.

What will be our stance on obsolete hardware now in use?  Association rules dictate that you destroy terminals and pin pads to prevent access of merchant, cardholder or transaction data in memory.  Remember to include the cost of retrieval and destruction in any budget.

Communication and education to the merchant is critical. React to predatory tactics by competitors, specials on EMV hardware plus card association changes and mandates.

What is your position if a merchant refuses to upgrade to accept an EMV card?  EMV is not a mandate.  However, the merchant foregoes EMV’s benefits such as the liability shift.  You must also educate the merchant on their vulnerability if they do not embrace EMV.

Will you incent merchants to upgrade to EMV?

Additionally, legacy devices such as analog and VOIP terminals can process an EMV transaction.  However, processing is very, very slow, up to 10 to 15 seconds in some instances.

Hardware changes often include a corresponding change in receipt paper.  So exhaust supplies of receipt paper for obsolete printers and integrated printers.  Order receipt paper for the EMV terminals.

Seize this opportunity to initiate new hardware and contract policies such as minimum term commitments, early termination clauses. Take this opportunity to implement fee or reduced hardware cost to increase competitiveness.  Use this opportunity to update contracts especially referencing hardware and software.

Determining Your Approach

Three approaches exist to any project: proactive, reactive and a middle ground. 

With interoperability requirements, cards issued with chip and magnetic stripe, it will be years before some merchants require EMV hardware.


Proactively contact merchants to upgrade their hardware to meet the EMV requirements.


  • Merchants meet EMV hardware requirements quickly


  • Expensive due to initial hardware purchase along with personnel time in up selling
  • Higher front end costs for hardware configuration and deployment
  • Must revisit some merchants to update their software
  • Good recordkeeping essential


Allow natural hardware attrition from to swap outs and merchant turn over to drive EMV implementation. At some point use of the proactive approach is necessary.


  • Spreads hardware expense over a longer time frame
  • Minimizes personnel expense
  • Distributes configuration and deployment expenses


  • As the date for EMV compliance draws near-
  • EMV compliant hardware may not be readily available
  • High demand will drive higher prices
  • Must revisit some merchants to up date their software
  • Good recordkeeping is critical.


Identify merchants most affected by EMV: 1. those in geographic areas prone to foreign chip cards, 2. those with higher than average chargebacks therefore likely affected by the liability shift and 3. the merchants that are highly profitable or with high transaction volume.  Take a proactive approach with these merchants.

Use the reactive approach for the remainder of merchants allowing for natural hardware evolution to occur. 

At some point, as the EMV implementation date nears, take proactive approach with the remaining merchants.


  • Balances expenses with positive results
  • Achieves results in those market segments most affected by EMV


  • Good recordkeeping is essential
  • May have higher front load expense with low back end expense


No matter the approach selected, begin communicating and educating merchants about EMV, its effect on them along with important dates. Communicate and educate using layman’s words, terminology familiar to your merchant. An informed merchant insures smoother implementation.

Remember your internal customers, line staff that need EMV education as well as knowledge of your company’s plan for EMV implementation. 

We cannot emphasize enough the critical importance of communication and education to the success of this project.

Earlier you quantified the number of new EMV terminals and EMV peripherals needed.  Now decide which terminal and peripheral makes and models based on those supported by your processor(s).  Project a rough budget; negotiate prices and delivery schedules with the selected hardware vendors.  Take advantage of vendor incentives, group or larger quantity buying opportunities to lower cost, warehousing internally or with your third party deployer.

As soon as you determine the EMV terminal choice, we recommend allowing the reactive approach to work for you.  We find a swap out using an EMV terminal costs less than an upgrade using rebuilt terminal with new EMV peripheral.

Develop scripts around EMV and its implementation.  Your team should help merchants understand their options, responsibilities as well as their investment.  Help them understand and weigh the expense of the alternatives, they assume all risk. 

Other considerations depending on approach chosen:

  • Adequate line personnel and supervisory staff
  • Adequate resources and capacity – space, computers, phones and phone lines, programming and encryption capabilities, kitting supplies and deployment
  • Expectation and measurement
  • Management and reporting

Be aware of pinch points, constraints, whether handling the EMV implementation project in-house or outsourcing the project

Execute your plan

Measure results against the plan early then adjust as needed.  Perform quality check phone calls with random merchants and refine the plan as needed after two to three weeks.

Outsource as needed

CardWare’s decades of project management experience delivers successful EMV implementation on time, on budget and with no attrition from the project. You lessen your expense as well as time to completion by leveraging our investment in trained personnel, documented processes, technology, inventory and infrastructure.

CardWare International 740-522-2150 or www.cardwareinternantional.com