What You Should Know Before an EMV Migration

Companies with unattended sites, such as self-serve parking lots, carwashes, and laundromats, are running out of time if they’re still using MSR payment hardware. With consumer demand for EMV contactless payment methods and digital wallets like Apple Pay or Google Pay, the transition from swipe to chip and PIN technology can’t be avoided. And U.S. merchants have until April before Visa and Mastercard boost their fees.

EMV offers a whole new world of frictionless payment possibilities beyond dipping and tapping. These transactions are also more secure. However, tightened security has changed how processing is handled on the backend, making EMV migrations a bit complicated.

A poorly planned MSR to EMV migration can bring your business to a halt. It’s therefore critical that you know what to expect, and that you choose a gateway partner capable of taking you to the finish line unscathed.

Your EMV Migration Shouldn’t Interrupt Your Business

First and foremost, you have to keep things moving. A good migration should be seamless and have little to no impact on your business. However, be aware that this project will probably take more time than you expect.

Here’s why:

  • Upgrading to EMV certified terminals means finding a way to retrofit old equipment and/or buying new payment terminals (devices are in short supply right now, so you may be stuck waiting for inventory).
  • Even if you don’t have to swap devices, the device keys and configurations might need to be changed – unless you own your own key (we’ll talk more about that later).
  • If your development team is remote, you could very well be shipping devices to the other side of the world, and then waiting for the devices to be configured and shipped back. That’s a lot of toe-tapping.

Until you have your EMV-compliant and configured devices in hand, you’ll need to continue processing MSR transactions. Meanwhile, as you manage the process of switching platforms, your customers should be completely oblivious to what’s happening behind the curtain.

So, how do you keep making the doughnuts 🍩 while a payments migration is going on? Here’s what we aim for – and how we make things deliciously simple at Worldnet.

Start With a Framework for Integration

Merchants have enough on their plates (I promise I'm not hungry!). So, our goal is to make it easy for companies to transfer payloads from their existing MSR fleet, allowing transactions to process on our platform with no changes to how they’re captured.

Not only is our process seamless, you also aren’t forced to change gateways before you migrate. Our REST API allows you to continue processing your MSR traffic until everything is in place to begin the migration to EMV. Even better, this MSR integration sets the framework for the EMV integration, so none of your work is wasted. Meanwhile, our team is focused on creating a migration plan that works for your business’ unique payment flow.

Map Out Payment Flow

Flexibility is important. Not every payment gateway partner can process EMV transactions in a way that works for your business. In fact, they might require your payment flow to adapt to their system, which can ultimately disrupt your customer experience.

Our system is adaptable, which means your payment flow stays the same or even improves, based on your payment, reporting and reconciliation needs. We create a customized payment flow model that sets the stage for a smooth implementation. (More on payment workflows here.) 

Every Migration Is Different

While we’re confident we have a solution for any payment flow, some businesses have presented a worthy challenge. Luckily, problem solving is in our DNA and we know how to get creative. Take, for example, a national locksmith company with self-service kiosks.

Key Printing Kiosks to the Rescue 🔑

The need for a spare key is never more apparent than when you’re locked out. We helped a leading locksmith company answer the call by powering their automated duplicate key cutting machines with EMV payments.

To use the key cutting machine, a customer swipes their card and inserts virtually any key into a key slot, and they either get a cut key on the spot or (for specialty keys) they receive the cut key in the mail.

A potential challenge was that the transaction amount is calculated after the card swipe. This makes sense – some keys are more costly to copy than others.

In an MSR environment, that’s no problem. The payload doesn’t have to include the transaction amount.

However, this is not the case with EMV.

We had to come up with a solution that delivered the same service without slowing down the process.

Of the options our team provided, the company ultimately chose a flow that captures the EMV transactions while the kiosk device is offline. The transaction payload is sent to their back-end server, where amounts are added, then the EMV-compliant payload is sent to our gateway.

From the customer’s perspective, the process is identical, but they now have more payment options to choose from.

 

Another example where our team had to think out of the box was for a recognized laundry industry company.

Intelligent Laundromat Payment Options

In this situation, a national laundromat chain offers an alternative to traditional laundromat coin mechanisms in the way of more payment options. Customers purchase loyalty cards from a kiosk to start the machines.

The payment solution had to support a range of payment methods, including cash, debit/credit cards, ApplePay/AndroidPay, and EBT cards.

The EBT option was the challenge. EBT cards work a little differently than debit cards do in that the funds can be used only for certain types of purchases.

Our team created a flow that added steps to identify and handle EBT payments. For those transactions, a single-use token sends the card request to our gateway. A token is sent back that is then used to send us the PIN for verification.


For the other payment transactions, the process was standard and there was no delay or extra steps from a customer’s point of view.

Look for a Partner That’s Device Key Agnostic

We mentioned earlier that handling device keys can create a holdup in the migration process.

That’s because provider-assigned device keys can’t be transferred, so they have to change when a company moves from one gateway to another.

The process, called remote key injection (RKI), replaces each device key. And yes, it’s both time-consuming and expensive.

But companies do have another option — they can own their own device key, giving them the freedom to move between gateways and device providers without RKI.


While many gateway partners require clients to use the proprietary keys, Worldnet is device key agnostic. Clients can choose between RKI with our proprietary keys or bring their own keys with them. Additionally, we’ll work with hardware providers to ensure both the test and live devices are set up correctly before shipping.

That way, you’re ready to swap out devices and go live as soon as they arrive.

Are You Ready for the EMV Deadline?

At Worldnet Payments, we have the know-how, flexibility, and infrastructure to make sure your EMV migration goes as smoothly as possible.

Each project is assigned a dedicated account manager, integration manager, systems support engineer, and second-level developer support team to keep your project on track, your team informed and your devices configured correctly.

Don't get fooled this April and contact us today to talk about your MSR to EMV migration.

Let’s get your business ready for the future of payments.

Self serve payment preferences

 

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