Our journey to EMV success

By Matt Taylor, Group President, Integrated Payments & Emerging Channels

Together, all of us are working through the largest payments technology upgrade since the 1980’s when the industry transitioned from carbon imprint machines to electronic terminals.

Since that time, the number of players and interdependencies involved in processing transactions has only increased. No longer is there a single player that makes up the entire payments ecosystem, but rather a strong confederation of innovative companies who provide unique value to merchants along the payments value chain. As a result, together we are serving our merchants in faster, smarter and easier ways.

On October 1st, we officially embarked on another journey to once again transform the way we transact. Despite some of the pain associated with this transition, the benefits of EMV will be good for all of us and our customers. Not only will EMV make our merchants and their customers safer, but it will also help ensure that our nation has a payments infrastructure that can mitigate the cyber threats of an increasingly connected world.

Investing in you

As you know, Vantiv Integrated Payments and Element have been investing significant resources to prepare for this technology shift, including one of the highest and fastest developer integration rates in the industry. Whether it was our small channel incentive promotions or our major Security Pays campaign, we have tried to lay the groundwork for a successful and seamless EMV migration for you.

While all of us have long been preparing for this transition, there are a number of dynamics that have impeded it from being as smooth as all of us would have hoped. With a transition of this size and scale, there are always unforeseen obstacles and unintended consequences that arise, especially in a payments system as complex as the one we have in the United States.

Solving the issues facing all of us

Jointly, we are facing two major issues beyond our direct control. There is a nationwide shortage of EMV devices, and there is a significant volume of our mutual customers urgently trying to understand and implement their individual paths to EMV acceptance. Neither of these issues are unique to Vantiv Integrated Payments as ecosystem players across the country are confronting the same situation.

The good news is, that because we are part of the nation’s second largest acquirer – Vantiv – we believe that we have the scale and resources to respond more quickly than our peers, and we have been diligently executing on plans to do so.

Device Supply

For the EMV device shortage, we are working to leverage our relationships with the major device manufacturers (through Vantiv) to get a direct supply of equipment for you and your merchants. While we have historically not been in the device distribution business, by centralizing our partners’ device needs we will be able to leverage group buying power to negotiate with these manufacturers and move our customers to the front of the line.

While we anticipate this effort will help mitigate some the most urgent demand for devices, we expect there will continue to be a national shortage for the next several months. This is where your assistance is so critical. We need your help in communicating this supply issue to our existing merchants and setting expectations for prospective customers. Regardless of this shortage though, it’s important to continue placing device orders because they are fulfilled in a first-in first-out basis. In a separate email, we will be sending you sample messaging that you may choose to use in communicating this situation to your customers.

Customer Care Volume

As it relates the large influx of merchant inquiries related to EMV, we continue to have all hands on deck at our customer contact centers. We continue to add new service agents each week and have reassigned employees from other areas of the company to help reduce wait times and meet partner and customer needs. 24/7/365 our service reps are diligently answering questions, swapping out equipment, troubleshooting technical issues and providing our payments expertise to help your merchants make the EMV transition as quickly as possible. While wait times are still longer than normal, we are also working to build and direct merchants to self-service solutions that will help them resolve their issue more quickly.

As with the equipment shortage, we also need your assistance to help serve the thousands of merchants that are contacting us regarding your software solutions. Specifically, we will be reaching out to you to determine your specific EMV integration timelines so that we can provide merchants information regarding your enablement roadmap as well as the device availability associated with your program. Working closely together to define and communicate your specific path to EMV will allow us to relieve some of the anxiety that our joint customers are feeling when it comes to this transition. I am confident that if we tackle this together, we will remain the leader of EMV integrations for the integrated payments space. Following this email, please be on the lookout for further communications from us on this matter.

Both of these efforts reflect our strong commitment to the incredible partnership we share under the Vantiv Integrated Payments Model and our shared ecosystem. We can and will help our mutual customers make this momentous transition, and I can’t thank you enough for your willingness to work together.

If you have any specific questions regarding these plans or programs, please reach out to your Channel Manager for more information.

Thank you for your assistance in advance.