EMV Implementation Tips

As more and more industries enter the EMV realm, there are both joys and challenges of having the EMV option. Customers and business owners can enjoy the security of EMV chip-cards to reduce fraud by protecting against loss from counterfeit stolen cards. Customers and business owners must also adapt to this new way to pay. When EMV is available to your business, know your device and teach your staff about it so they can help customers through the steps of an EMV transaction.


Cards with a mag-stripe and an EMV-chip will exist simultaneously until all merchants have EMV-capable devices and until all banks replace all existing mag-stripe cards issued to their customers with an EMV chip. Some devices have the EMV terminal slot, but it doesn’t function.

TIP: If you have a non-functioning terminal, make a sign or insert a placeholder to let customers know if EMV is not available. Some examples of sayings are, “Please swipe card,” “Swipe card here – Chip card functionality coming soon,” or “Please swipe; Do not insert card.”

Because the cards in use today have both a chip and a stripe, people may swipe their card first out of habit. If EMV is enabled on the device, it will reject the swipe and tell the user to insert their card instead. Once a person inserts their card (also called “dipping”) with the chip-end first, facing up, they need to wait to remove it until prompted to do so. While the card is inserted into the terminal, the chip and the terminal are communicating to verify the card is real and to validate the cardholder’s identity.

TIP: Advertise that you have EMV functionality available and tell people that they will need to insert their card into your device when it’s time to pay. This will help cut down on the time it takes them to complete their payment. While it only takes a few seconds for the device to reject a swipe and prompt to insert the card, the seconds can add up and lead to customer frustrations, both with the person paying and the people in line behind them.

Once the card is inserted, there will be different prompts that come up on the screen. The device will either ask for a PIN or signature, based on the card configuration. The device terminal reads the EMV chip and automatically reads the preferred cardholder verification methods (CVM) for that card. Some cards don’t prompt for either PIN or signature if the transaction amount is low.

TIP: If a user can’t remember their PIN, tell them to push the ENTER button or follow prompts to give their signature instead. While using the PIN is a safer method, the transaction can still be completed using a signature to save time and frustration if the card user is drawing a blank. If their behavior seems suspicious, you can always ask for a photo ID to match with the name on the card.

When the transaction is completed, it’s important that the user removes their card from the device. Some devices will beep until the card is removed; other devices will just display a message saying that the card can now be removed. As a merchant, get in the habit of double-checking that the customer has their card.

TIP: Hang a sign on your door with a reminder message like “Make sure you have your EMV chip card!” so that on the way out of your store, customers will have their memory jogged that they may have forgotten their card. If they do forget their card, keep it in a safe place and reach out to them via a phone call, text message, or email if you have their contact info.

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