New nationwide campaign includes $100 reimbursement for upgrading to EMV terminals
American Express has officially launched its Small Merchant EMV Assistance Program. The nationwide campaign will help U.S. small merchants fight fraud through a $10 million reimbursement program designed to accelerate adoption of EMV payment terminals. It will also arm small merchants with knowledge about EMV’s security benefits.
As part of the program, announced last October by President Obama, eligible merchants that have upgraded to an EMV terminal can request a one-time $100 reimbursement from American Express. AmEx will deliver educational resources about EMV to small merchants through email, a telephone hotline and a website. A team of ambassadors – the American Express Fraud Squad – will also visit New York City, Atlanta, Miami and Houston to meet with small merchants and “spread the word about EMV and its benefits,” according to a press release.
Payment card fraud is a top concern among small merchants. According to the American Express EMV Preparedness Survey, conducted in October 2014, more than two-thirds (67%) of small merchants indicated that protection against and prevention of payment-card fraud was very important to running their businesses. Furthermore, 52% said that they feel they are at higher risk for payment card fraud than larger businesses, with nearly half of those small merchants citing a lack of money to invest in fraud prevention or a lack of access to experts who can assist them as the biggest reasons why.
In addition, more than a third of the surveyed small merchants said they either have not decided whether they will upgrade their payment terminals or they do not plan to upgrade their payment terminals. Of those small merchants, 57% cited the cost of terminals as the main reason.
“The Achilles heel for EMV merchant adoption will be small and micro merchants that are not only unprepared for EMV, but even unaware of the fraud-liability shift in the U.S. this year,” said Nick Holland, head of payments, Javelin Strategy & Research. “The majority of small merchants lack the financial resources and expertise to make the transition to EMV.”
Beginning in October, U.S. merchants that do not have EMV-enabled payment terminals and experience certain POS fraud may be held liable for the costs stemming from such incidents.