Howdy Folks! After a few weeks of reflection from the recent NRF meeting I have a few morsels of information to share regarding the ever changing landscape of retail electronic payments.
NRF, as usual, was the opportunity to share information and experience from 2015 and act as the Launchpad for new ideas and projects for 2016. The weather mostly cooperated, however with plenty of sunshine and no giant garbage bags hanging from the ceiling in the Javit’s center, the stage was set for a great event. Even with the normal concession lines for a cup of coffee or a bad slice of pizza, that last longer than being at the Post Office, couldn’t put a damper on the energy of this year’s show.
Like last year, the focus was on EMV, but with a different perspective. The war stories being shared regarding certification times, transaction time extension, and the overall impact on customer experience were the buzz of the show. Mobile continues to be a hot topic, but with uncertainty surrounding the extension of the Mag Stripe emulation certifications from Visa for Apple Pay, Google, etc. The traction these payment methodologies have made, may be blunted by EMV and certification time issues that impact everyone and are now the new normal.
The other major buzz was the number of chargebacks being initiated for undisputed valid customer transactions. My associate, Mike Ryan, in another blog post has addressed this topic in more detail, but stay tuned as these situations are happening more frequently. Merchants need to understand that the liability shift that went into effect last October was not intended to be punitive by the card associations for failure to process a chip card with chip versus mag stripe. It was intended to move the liability for fraudulent cards to the merchants if not utilizing EMV technology.
In the big news surrounding mergers and acquisitions the major buzz was on the Verifone acquisition of AJB. I would expect more of these acquisitions to take place as EMV redefines the payment landscape here in the U.S.
NRF 2016 was again a great time to catch up with friends, clients, and even competitors within the payment industry. Like 2015, EMV will be the acronym and focus for 2016, however we can only hope the hardest part is behind us. One thing I have learned about this industry is just when we think EMV is solved, I am sure our friends at the PCI Council will give us something to think about at next year’s NRF meeting.