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News: EMV Credit Card Deadline Finds People Unprepared -

Starting tomorrow, merchants are supposed to be ready to accept EMV payments from consumers—or face the possible consequences, which could mean picking up the tab. For their part, consumers will have to get used to paying by tapping or inserting their cards into EMV terminals instead of swiping.

If you don’t know what EMV means, join the club. A recent survey from ACI Worldwide found that six out of ten credit card users aren’t ready for the EMV shift. And even if they received new, chip-enabled credit cards, they aren’t sure why they got them, or how to use them.

Last month the EMV Readiness Survey asked 1,008 people ages 18 and over about their preparedness for the EMV technology and their knowledge of EMV payment cards. Here’s what they found:

• Sixty-seven percent of folks said they haven’t received any information from their card issuers or banks explaining what the EMV shift means

• Fifty-nine percent of people had not yet received chip-enabled cards

• Sixty-eight percent of those who did get new cards didn’t know why they got the card, or that the United States is moving toward the EMV payment model

Tapping instead of swiping

EMV cards are simply credit or debit cards that are equipped with a security chip that stores customers’ payment information and encrypts it when sending it to be processed for payment. EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard, and Visa—the three payment networks that originally developed the technology.

Instead of swiping these cards to make a payment, customers tap them on the point-of-sale console. EMV cards are far more secure than traditional magnetic stripe cards, which have been in use for years.

Holiday shopping could be affected

The unfamiliarity with EMV technology could cause some stress in the upcoming holiday shopping season. “If consumers are unaware, the implications for retailers come October and throughout the holiday shopping season could be major, especially as retailers prepare for this new payment experience,” said Mike Braatz, senior vice president, Payments Risk Management, ACI Worldwide.

“Although October is the date for the liability shift, we know issuers, acquirers and retailers are still working on issuing cards and upgrading payment acceptance systems to address EMV.”