A Token For My Thoughts

Written By: Jennifer Jones

While at HITEC, most of us have had at least one conversation about EMV during the conference. People know it is important and that they should do something about it, but it is confusing. And you may have been misinformed once or twice. Who is certified with who?  What hardware is certified and where do I have to get it from? Your software application may be certified with your gateway, but until your processor is certified also, you won’t be able to accept a chip transaction at the front desk or point of sale terminal. So if your head is spinning like a crazy person, it is ok. We all have been there.

Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a magical list that named software vendors down one side, and then gateway/processor combinations up across the top? It would simply state if they are currently supporting EMV transactions or publish a date that advises when they plan on being certified. Most importantly, if I am told you are EMV certified, I would like you to tell me the name of at least one property where it is working. I think I am going to create this magical list because it is hard to “keep up with the Joneses” and know who is doing what.

EMV-SwipePurchasing the right hardware can also be daunting. There are different models of devices and brands you can choose from. Will you implement them with a USB connection or will you have open network drops available to connect via Ethernet? Depending on your gateway provider you may have to order these from a re-seller and make sure that the correct keys get injected onto them. And if you do connect them via Ethernet, someone will have the fun task of assigning IP addresses to all of them. I suggest that someone keeps track of each terminal’s serial number, model number and location of its placement in your hotel with the corresponding IP address. It makes supporting these devices easier.

Be prepared that it is going to cost you money to implement EMV. There is no way around it. There will be hardware charges, there will gateway charges and there will be charges from your software providers for someone to configure the system properly. There’s no such thing as a free lunch so budget accordingly when venturing into this transition.

But hands down, I believe the most frequently forgotten part of implementing EMV that is as important as everything else is training. Just implementing tokenization and point-to-point encryption will introduce procedural changes for your staff. If they accidentally close a check with a wrong tip amount, it’s not as easy as voiding the payment and correcting the amount. That credit card number is not stored in the system anymore and they will be unable to reprocess the card. Documenting all of these scenarios for your staff is completely helpful and will help allow them to adopt the new payment process.

So while at HITEC, make sure to sit down with your vendors and find out where they are in the EMV process and talk with them on their approach to implementing it. There is a lot of planning you should prepare for as well as time for configuration and training.

JenniferJones H16OffBloggerJennifer Jones is president at J2 Hospitality Solutions, a technology consulting firm. She is an active member in the HFTP Rocky Mountain chapter, and she has spent her entire career in the hospitality technology space on both vendor and property sides of the spectrum. Jones is a 1997 graduate of Penn State University’s School of Hospitality Management.

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