The slow conversion of U.S. gasoline pumps from acceptance of only magnetic-stripe payment cards to EMV chip cards took a step forward Tuesday when payment technology provider NCR Corp. announced that a convenience store in upstate New York had completed its first outdoor EMV transaction using an NCR Optic upgrade kit.
The transaction occurred from a pump at a Mirabito Holdings Inc. location in Norwich, N.Y. Mirabito operates 100-plus c-stores in central New York and northeastern Pennsylvania. Binghamton, N.Y.-based Mirabito has installed Optic kits in three test locations and will be adding EMV card acceptance at other locations soon, according to a news release from Duluth, Ga.-based NCR.
NCR said its Optic retrofit options work with most fuel-pump brands and create a uniform customer experience regardless of the pump manufacturer or model. Mirabito is working on its EMV upgrades with processor First Data Corp. and NCR channel partner Retail Data Systems, a Lisle, Ill.-based point-of-sale hardware and software provider.
In addition to EMV chip cards, Mirabito’s upgraded pumps will be able to process contactless mobile transactions and provide more marketing and loyalty options through an integrated barcode scanner and high-definition video, according to NCR. Eric Bunts, Mirabito’s chief information officer, said in a statement that the new technology fulfills “a diverse range of customer-experience objectives that are important to us as an organization.”
C-stores and stand-alone gas stations now have until October 2020 to upgrade their pumps for EMV card acceptance under Visa Inc. and Mastercard Inc. liability shifts that originally had been scheduled to take effect in October 2017. A year ago, the networks postponed the shifts, which will make the gas stations liable for counterfeit fraud if their pumps can’t read an EMV credit or debit card’s chip, because of the problems fuel retailers were having in upgrading their pumps.
Retail petroleum executives tell Digital Transactions magazine for a story in its January 2018 issue that upgrading pumps for EMV acceptance is a complex task, and that most c-stores are first working on conversions inside the store, then integrating upgraded POS systems with their fuel pumps. A major issue is a shortage of qualified technicians to do the work, executives say.