Frequently Asked Questions about Restaurant EMV Readers

We’ve been getting a ton of the same questions around EMV readers from many WAND QSR and Fast Casual restaurant operators so we thought it’d be good to use this post to answer them.
wand-corporation-point-of-sale-homepageHere we go!

1-What’s the timeline? When do I need EMV readers in my stores? Will the deadline be pushed back? The liability shift for restaurant operators occurs on October 1st, 2015. We strongly recommend having EMV readers in your store by that date. However, installing EMV readers isn’t as easy as it sounds because it involves a lot of moving parts. We do not anticipate the deadline to be pushed back so the sooner you can get started on this, the better. As a first step you should designate someone on your team as the EMV champion for this project.

2-The cost to add EMV readers sounds expensive. How much are we talking here?
It depends. They are typically about $250-300 depending on the model and how many you’re buying. Obviously if you’re buying in bulk you’ll get a nice discount. You’ll need one per POS terminal in your restaurant, including your drive-thru. Another way to fund the new hardware is to switch your credit card relationship. If you change providers, there is a really good chance they will help you pay for the EMV readers. It is also possible that if you tell your current provider you are thinking about switching, they might consider funding the new equipment.

3-Do I need a reader for every register? What happens to the swiper that is already built into my register?
Yes you need one EMV reader for each register in your store. The swiper (Magnetic Swipe Reader, or MSR) in your current register will no longer be used. It won’t be taken out of your POS or go anywhere, it’ll just stay there and collect a fine layer of dust. Built-in MSRs could potentially still be used for gift and loyalty cards, but it is better to get everyone in the habit of using the new terminal. Your next POS terminal won’t have one built in (but it may have an EMV reader built in.)

4-Can my new EMV hardware still accept credit cards that don’t have chips?
Yep. It will accept all the transactions and data that your current POS uses. You’ll use the EMV reader slightly differently of course because it’s a new way to pay, so you’ll want to plan a bit of extra time when you purchase your EMV readers to educate staff.

5-In the drive thru, are we going to have to hand the customer the credit card reader out the window and has WAND thought about weather and the hardware (ie rains, snow)? More importantly, what will prevent the EMV reader from dropping out the window?
This is an excellent question! First, the EMV reader will be attached to your restaurant POS with a cord (think a phone cord from days past). Second, the EMV readers are built to sustain throughout inclement weather and should not be damaged in the case of rain or snow, though if there is very heavy weather you should train your staff to collect the card from the customer instead of holding the EMV reader outside the window.

We’re sure we’ll continue to get many more questions about EMV readers in the coming months and we’ll tackle all questions here on our blog. Look for more fun FAQ posts!