The deadline for the installation of EMV readers at fuel dispenser stations took place on April 17, and the liability shift could have significant consequences for fuel retailers who are not EMV compliant. This deadline for fuel dispenser stations in the United States to upgrade their pumps to accept EMV was recently extended to April 17th, 2021, from its previous extension of October 2020, allowing more time to comply with the new EMV standard to pay at the pump. However, there will not be additional delays.
If not in compliance, fuel dispense station operators/owners themselves will assume expensive liabilities for payment card fraud at their stations. If your location has yet to upgrade to meet the new EMV at the pump standard, your location will likely continue to see an increased level of skimming, hacking and other fraudulent activity associated with non-EMV transactions.
According to experts “this deadline is a continuation of EMV technology expanding into retail in 2015, which helped retailers immediately see a reduction in fraud. Visa estimates that transition resulted in a 76% drop in fraud during September 2015 and December 2018”.
Any reduction in fraud is a win for the industry, but the shift of liability also means that truckstops and travel plazas need to minimize their risk once the shift occurs.
“No one wants to get into a security breach and not have some level of protection,” said Don Quinn. “Why gamble with your business?”
Plus, risk goes beyond the immediate monetary loss. “Credit card security breaches can potentially damage your business by the negative publicity should the breach reach the local news,” Quinn said.
Quinn said major brands, such as Shell, bp, Phillips, etc., currently provide liability protection for their branded sites. “It is likely that they will require, if they aren’t already, upgrading to EMV standards, but you should discuss this with your branded supplier,” he said.
Unbranded sites are currently assuming 100 percent liability for chargebacks and associated with fraudulent transactions.
There are several things those who have not yet installed updated equipment or retrofitted existing equipment can do now to protect themselves, and NATSO recently sat down with Quinn, Darren Schulte, NATSO’s vice president of membership, and Dan Witkemper, director, North America payment at Gilbarco Veeder-Root, to get their insights.
- Determine your current risk. First and foremost, find out if you have a counterfeit fraud problem before the liability shift begins. Reach out to your payment card processor and ask for details on the number of transactions and associated dollars for existing counterfeit fraud. Specifically related to commercial fuel purchases. The same should be done for your auto fueling if you are currently not EMV compliant on the forecourt.
If it is low, do not assume it will continue to be that way as more and more sites adopt EMV technology it is only a matter of time before the crooks find your site.
If it is high, then you need to be especially vigilant to reduce that fraud and your future liability for these transactions.
- Consider making changes to pay-at-the-pump. If you have a high counterfeit fraud problem already in the commercial fueling lanes, you should expect it to get worse. As a result, you may need to consider turning off the ability to pay with credit cards at the diesel pumps. Many operators have already chosen to do this and or are going to do this.
However, if this is not already a current policy, making all commercial fueling lane credit card transactions come inside could lead to reduced fuel volumes. Some customers not accustomed to having to potentially come in twice, once to get the fuel pump authorized and once to complete the transaction may get angry and leave.This is will even be more of an issue for forecourt fueling.
Additionally, most in-store staffing and checkout counters are often designed around a volume of customers that assumes 65-70 percent will not come inside the store. Forcing customers to come inside to purchase fuel results in longer waiting queues and frustrated customers. Again, a cost analysis as well as a conversation around the customer experience needs to take place.
- Utilize Fuel Attendants: If turning off the ability for customers to use credit cards at the diesel pumps is not an option for you as you feel the experience will negatively impact revenue and customers then you may want to consider deploying fuel attendants on all three shifts who greet, assist, order coffee/food for them via a tablet, etc. while keeping a watchful eye on customers. There was a time when most operators had fuel attendants who wrote down all the driver information once drivers started fueling. While expensive and challenging today a cost analysis will help you make that decision.
- Pay attention. At the forecourt, watch for box trucks and vans that are parked at a fueling position for longer than a typical transaction takes, normally 3-5 minutes. At a truckstop or travel center, this can be challenging as people tend to go inside to pick up food or snacks, but it is still worthwhile to note, and it could be worth sending a staff person out to check on the situation. If the person is observed to be actively fueling and/or is dipping multiple credit cards, this can be an indication of fraud. Locations that are not staffed 24/7 may want to consider turning off the ability to purchase fuel while the location is closed.
- Utilize seals or stickers. Using and regularly inspecting seals or security tape over the card-reader-in-dispenser-door can help spot fraud. Locations can also purchase door security devices, but it could be more useful to put that money towards an EMV upgrade.
- Request more information. You could consider making all transactions require a pin.
“The short answer is although this is an expensive proposition, the sooner you perform the upgrade the better,” Quinn said. “I would believe that anything short of an upgrade is going to eventually have a negative impact on your customers and your business.”
Schulte said it is important to keep customers informed of any changes being made. “The key until your operation is fully compliant is to be diligent and communicate with customers, whichever path you take,” Schulte said.
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