This is the first holiday season that will involve the emergence of EMV technology, and could unfortunately bring on headaches for both merchants and consumers. Many consumers are not aware as to how EMV works, nor do they know how to use their chip cards correctly when making an in-store purchase. On a similar note, merchants and their employees are still not certain as to how to process a transaction with EMV technology.


 A recent study conducted by examined EMV chip card usages and shopping behaviors of U.S. consumers and found that:


  • 28% of EMV cardholders felt that EMV was bothersome or confusing in-stores.
  • 54% of consumers have at least one chip card already.
  • The number one request shoppers want this holiday season is an easy checkout experience.


With these issues and apprehensions still prominent amongst consumers, what can merchants do to deliver a seamless EMV interaction this holiday season?


Work With a Payment Processor
Merchants who switch to EMV compliant processing will no longer be vulnerable to the liability shift penalties. With that in mind, merchants need to partner with a payment processor who can provide EMV solutions and merchant services to help run their business with the latest technology. As a client, your business will have access to innovative technology and industry knowledge and the necessary solutions to protect your company. 


Train Employees On EMV
During the holidays, there will be many shoppers who will be using their EMV card for the first time and will not be familiar with how to use it when checking out. One vital component merchants need to do is to train their staff effectively on how to process an EMV transaction. Doing so will not only ensure a seamless transaction for your staff, but also for your customers. 


Competent employees will help expedite the checkout process, as the transaction time to process an EMV card takes longer than the traditional swipe. Having a staff that can easily assist customers with their EMV card will go a long way in terms of customer service and create a smoother transaction experience. 


Assist Consumers on How to Use a Chip Card
To help speed up the check out process during the holidays, here are some valuable tips employees should rely on to assist customers as they pay with a chip card: 

  • Show the customers where to insert their EMV card inside the terminal. Make sure they are not swiping their card by mistake.
  • Be sure the customer leaves their chip card inside the terminal during the transaction until the screen prompts them to remove their card.
  • Pay attention to prompts on the screen for any additional instructions.
  • Remind the customer to remove their chip card out of the terminal once the transaction is complete.


J. Craig Shearman, vice president for government affairs at the National Retail Federation feels that with practice, both the merchants and consumers will get the hang of an EMV transaction. 


"It's a pretty simple process; you figure it out pretty quick," Shearman said. "It will become muscle memory. They have been used in Asia and Europe, and they don't slow down lines there." 


Consumers will already be stressed from the busy holiday season and coupling that with long lines and adjusting to EMV technology can make a disgruntled customer. Merchants can help alleviate any uneasiness customers may experience with EMV and ultimately cut down the time it takes to process a transaction. Working with a payment processor, training employees on EMV, and having employees assist consumers on how to use a chip card will pave the way for merchants to provide a seamless holiday season experience.