The U.S. is in the midst of a major transition to EMV, or “chip card” technology, as other countries across the world have implemented EMV and therefore have significantly reduced their card fraud losses.

Chip cards add security to payments due to an embedded microchip that uses dynamic data during each transaction, which makes them difficult to counterfeit. In fact, other markets have seen as high as an 80 percent drop in card-present counterfeit fraud after chip adoption.[1]

With ubiquitous commitment to chip cards by merchants and other payments stakeholders, the industry can reduce business disruption during the switch.

Even for small- to medium-sized merchants, accepting chip card payments is important. As large, nationwide retailers have implemented this technology, fraud could shift to less-protected channels, so terminals that have not been upgraded to take chip payments could become a target.

“The migration to EMV will take time and requires merchants to think through the best practices for implementation,” said Ellie Smith, Head of the Discover Chip Center of Excellence. “EMV training and education is critical for employees, who should become well-versed in the benefits of chip cards and the security they bring to the brick-and-mortar point-of-sale environment.”

Best practices when training employees on chip cards

As the industry transitions to EMV, Discover Network, the world’s third largest global payments network, has pulled together several best practices and recommendations for training employees on the new technology. These tips are also intended to help you create a more streamlined, positive experience at the point-of-sale for customers.

Designate experts among your team to understand payment options

Identify several managers as experts in different payment methods, including EMV and mobile payments, so they can jump in to help store employees and customers when the need arises. When at least one person at the store has up-to-date knowledge about the EMV migration, and other emerging payment methods such as mobile wallets, commerce can continue to run smoothly in your store, and customers will be grateful for the quick service they received if they are still getting used to the new chip card in their wallet.

Discuss the different checkout processes for chip cards with store managers and employees

Chip cards may process differently from each other when used at the terminal. That’s because some card issuers will have a PIN behind their card, and others might have a signature behind theirs. Be sure to educate all employees on how the transactions might work once customers start using their chip cards. And always remember – chip cards need to stay in the terminal while the transaction is processed.

Also, luckily, if a customer swipes a card that has a chip, EMV-enabled terminals will recognize the chip card and prompt consumers to insert the card instead.

Walk through the transition to chip cards and any other recent terminal updates

Recently, new payment methods have been introduced in addition to chip cards, such as mobile wallets, so it’s important to keep employees well-trained on the latest point-of-sale terminals and devices.

When educating your staff on the transition, walk through the go-live date for chip card acceptance in your store, but also remind employees about each type of payment your store accepts, from chip cards to contactless payments to mobile wallets, so no one accidentally turns away a certain payment type at checkout.

Leverage videos, store signage, and other useful industry resources

Educate employees further by using trusted industry resources. To help navigate through this new environment, Discover Network can help you to better understand chip cards and EMV-enabled terminals and other changes to the industry.

You can visit the Discover Network EMV Resource Center, which provides many resources to prepare for your migration to EMV, including a training video that you can play during the meeting. Discover Network also offers new signage to place on EMV-enabled terminals, windows, and counters. To download this signage, visit theMerchant Resources page.

Remind employees about the power of friendly customer service

A trained staff, some patience, and friendly customer interaction can go a long way as the industry collectively migrates to new and safer payments technology.

Encourage employees to be attentive to each customer and each transaction, especially as consumers have varying degrees of knowledge about chip cards. By providing an exceptional level of customer service, you can truly make your business stand out from the rest, gain competitive advantage, and keep customers coming back.

To learn more about the EMV migration, please visit the Discover Network EMV Resource Center.