What's next in credit card payments technology?
As a merchant, you can't be bothered with every new technology on the market. Don't feel bad because even people in the tech world can't be bothered with it. There's simply too much out there, and it's too time consuming to learn it all. So how does your small business make sense of the change, keep focused on your customers, and thrive among the changing commerce and payments environment? Start with some tips for keeping up with changes in credit card payments.
Consider the new "laws" of the land—e.g., the EMV fraud liability shift
If you haven't heard already, the older card machines, where a customer simply swipes to make a payment, started to become obsolete as of October 2015. No, they weren't outlawed and no, the police aren't going to come to arrest you, but there's a big shift that began on October 1, 2015 that's making them obsolete. That shift is the fraud liability shift associated with EMV (Europay, MasterCard, Visa). For some time now in places like Europe, cards have held an additional layer of protection in the form of computer chips embedded in them that make fraud at the point-of-sale one step closer to non-existent. New terminals in the U.S. are now capable of reading these cards. And, effective October 1, 2015, certain fraud liability associated with point-of-sale fraud shifts--and largely away from banks and back toward merchants.
You and your payment processor will be responsible for the costs. This is meant to light a fire under merchants big and small to get EMV terminals which are meant to drastically reduce security threats.
No one can say exactly when you'll need to upgrade your payment processor again, because who knows exactly how criminals will respond to the technology that's out today. They're incredibly resourceful when they have the right incentives, and your customers personal data is a treasure trove. One thing you may want to consider though is the public's growing obsessions with their phones. Considering the publics uses phones to do practically everything nowadays from buying tickets to looking up our schedules, it seems to be only a matter of time before payments are almost universally processed on our phones. While credit card payments dominate the landscape currently, consumers achieve more convenience when they can tap and pay with services like Apple and Android pay. If your current technology doesn't support these new forms of payment methods, you may want to consider changing your strategy here.
Once you get to know a machine, there's a lot of value in that knowledge and experience and so it should be a very well thought out decision before you actually do change. However, you can look to both the news and those you trust in your industry to see what will likely be the next big thing so you don't feel like you're taking a huge risk. For example, you can actively see just how much the smart phone's universal presence has changed everything, meaning tap and pay isn't likely to be a waste of your time and money. Following the latest studies doesn't mean you have to act on every new piece of information out there, but you should be able to view everything in context so you can make smarter decisions about your credit card payments.
The Key Points
You should always be answering questions about whether or not you should switch based on the key points. Safety is always going to be at the forefront of people's minds when they make payments. No one wants to get a new debit card or deal with the hassle of identity theft. The other major player in this game is ease of use.If you live in a competitive area, it's also just one more way to distinguish yourself from those in your field. You may want to consider setting up some sort of incentive program for people to use their phones if you do choose a tap and pay processor. People generally don't want to think about money because they almost never have enough of it. Giving them a way to make a purchase and get on with their lives quickly should always be how you approach when and how you upgrade your machines, even if you have to do it sooner than you wanted to.