How EMV affects you--and your favorite restaurant

By : Andy Sirmon

September 02, 2015 09:18 PM

EMV  is coming to America…and it’s going to change how you pay with a credit or debit card and how your favorite restaurant takes your payment.


If you received a card from your bank with a silver or gold microchip in the left-hand corner, you are the proud owner of an EMV-enabled smartcard. Credit card issuers are scrambling to issue new cards to consumers.


Why? As of October 1, 2015, restaurants or retailers that take credit card payments may be liable for fraudulent transactions completed in their store or restaurant. They can protect you and themselves by implementing EMV-capable devices and technology. We’re accustomed to the quick and easy swipe-and-go payment in fast food restaurants and handing our card to servers in table-service restaurants.


That’s about to change with EMV.


The quick facts on EMV


In previous blog posts, we’ve explained what EMV is and helped restaurateurs separate the facts from fiction regarding EMV implementation. Most retail stores and restaurants are going to implement new payment devices to deal with the new cards and liability shift.


After October 1, if you have a chip-enabled smartcard, you will be asked to insert your card into the payment device in what’s known as a “dip,” inserting your card and leaving it for the entire transaction.


How EMV affects restaurants


Think about your favorite restaurant. What do you like the most about it? It’s likely the two things that come to mind are how fast you get through the line and how great the guest experience is. While EMV makes your transaction more secure, it may have an impact on both of those things. How? When a restaurant implements devices that can read your chip-enabled card, your transaction could take 15-20 seconds longer for you and all the patrons behind you. 


For table-service restaurants, servers will not be able to take guests’ credit cards to the back for processing; smartcards must always stay in sight and control of the cardholder, which could feel a bit awkward. Table-service restaurants will either invest in wireless devices that permit you to complete the transaction at the table with the tip included or set up a central cashier to accept payment after the meal.


Is there another way I can pay faster?


Another interesting component of the evolving payments ecosystem is smartphones that use mobile wallets like Apple Pay and Android Pay. It might be quicker to whip out your phone to complete a transaction. In fact, it’s almost as fast as swiping a magnetic stripe-only card and provides more security for your card data.




The increase in stolen payment cards and data is causing big changes to the way that we use our credit cards to pay for purchases. Retailers and restaurants could take on more of the liability for fraudulent expenses after October 1 if they don’t upgrade to EMV systems.


If you work for, own or manage a restaurant or retail location, it’s important to understand the effect that EMV technology might have on your business and no one is forcing you to implement EMV right now. It’s a changing payment landscape, but as patrons, business owners and solution providers, we’ll navigate it together.


Andy Sirmon

NCR Hospitality

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Andy is a passionate marketer dedicated to helping make every day easier for restaurant operators. Here, Andy shares his insights on the restaurant industry and how disruptive innovation is transforming the way restaurants do business.