Total Merchant Services’ VP Of Marketing was recently interviewed by Business Solutions Magazine. Read below, or view the interview here.
Total Merchant Services is a credit card merchant account acquirer that provides solutions to merchants and sales partners while focusing on technology-driven products designed to help small businesses prosper and grow. Scott Blum is VP of Marketing, Business Development and Software Partners for Total Merchant, which was named the 2012 ISO of the Year by the Electronic Transactions Association (ETA) for providing payment industry sales professionals with outstanding product and service innovation.
Blum took time to speak with Business Solutions about the benefits and challenges software companies face related to EMV payments and upgrades, what new solutions are making it easier for software companies to implement EMV solutions while maintaining compliance, and how EMV integrations can benefit VARs.
BSM: What are the benefits for software companies to integrate EMV payments?
Blum: It’s important for software companies to upgrade to EMV in order to help their merchant customers reduce fraud and mitigate liability while providing consumers peace of mind. EMV chip cards provide greater security than conventional magnetic stripe cards. The microprocessor on the EMV chip cards creates a unique transaction code for each use, eliminating the possibility of counterfeit cards. For consumers, EMV security keeps their personal data safe while providing peace of mind that thieves won’t be making purchases using their card. Prior to October 2015, the liability of a chargeback for card fraud fell on the issuer. Since the EMV mandate, liability has shifted to the merchant in certain scenarios if the merchant could not accept EMV chip cards at the time of the transaction. Thus, it’s imperative for software companies to upgrade in order to protect their merchant customers from fraud liability.
BSM: How can VARs benefit from the trend of EMV integration for software companies and what should they do to prepare?
Blum: The upgrade to EMV provides a unique opportunity for VARs. Merchants will either be upgrading their current solution or may consider a new solution, thereby creating a sales opportunity. Millions of software users will need to be upgraded over the next several years. Payment solution providers such as Total Merchant Services provide compensation to VARs who refer software development partners to their solution and thereby bring access to more merchant accounts.
To prepare for this, VARs should become familiar with EMV in general. They should research the benefits of the new cards, understand the new hardware, and become familiar with payment system architecture. In addition, they should look for companies that are marketing EMV solutions to both existing and new customers.
BSM: What challenges do software companies that want to upgrade face?
Blum: There are two main challenges for software companies that want to upgrade to EMV. First, integrating a compliant EMV payment device with a software application can be a long and expensive undertaking due to stringent EMV and PCI requirements. Companies need to make sure they are using an architecture that keeps EMV and PCI out of scope to eliminate costs and time-consuming processes. Second, upgrading merchants currently accepting mag-stripe payments can be challenging from both a technical and an educational perspective. Technical issues may arise at the point of implementation due to incompatible software residing on a merchant’s system, and merchants may have a learning curve for the new process.
BSM: How do new solutions help software companies implement EMV solutions and maintain compliance?
Blum: New semi-integrated architecture is helping software companies keep both EMV and PCI out of scope. In a traditional integrated environment, a physical connection is maintained between the software or POS app and the payment terminal. This model requires sensitive cardholder data to be transmitted to the POS/ECR and merchant back-office systems before reaching the payment gateway. Because payment data is transmitted to the software or POS app, EMV and PCI requirements are in scope for the developer. Total Merchant Services came up with a solution that routes encrypted, sensitive cardholder data directly to the payment host or gateway, thereby keeping EMV and PCI out of scope. Non-sensitive customer information is sent to the merchant’s POS and/or back office. To assist merchant implementation, Total Merchant Services developed an installation wizard that checks the merchant’s local software and corrects any local issues, making installation fast and easy.