Best Practices When Using an EMV Chip-Enabled Payment Terminal

It may seem like a small, insignificant change — going from swiping a credit/debit card to inserting one into a payment terminal. But let me assure you, the chip card change has caused LOTS of confusion — and it’s created longer lines at the register throughout thousands of stores in the U.S.

Knowing that, it’s definitely worth taking proactive measures to guide your customers and staff on using the new payment terminals. Doing so will ensure you keep the checkout process quick and efficient.

Simple Ways to Notify Customers

One of the best things you can do is to utilize all channels — in-store and online — to inform customers that you have a terminal that accepts chip cards. Here are two quick and easy ways:

1. Add a notice in your customer newsletters, emails, social posts (in as many communication spots as possible) to let customers know you now accept chip cards. That way they’ll be prepared prior to making their way to the register.

2. Add a sticker or small sign to your terminal that says: Chip card-ready! Doing so can save time at the register and eliminate the question: “Should I swipe or insert?”

Pointers for Customer-Facing Staff

No one likes change and customers will likely need guidance throughout the process — especially if this is the first time they are using their chip card with a chip-enabled terminal. Make sure your staff is ready to coach customers in need of assistance.

Hold a brief meeting where you verbally review the steps below with customer-facing staff that will be at the register. Print out the pointers and keep them at the register as a reference.

Step #1:

Determine if the card has a chip by asking the customer: “Are you using a chip card today?”

– If they DO NOT have a chip card, instruct them to swipe through the magnetic stripe reader.

– Note: if they DO have a chip card, and it is swiped through the magnetic stripe reader, the chip card contains data that will prompt the cardholder to insert the card into the chip reader.

Step #2:

If the customer has a chip card, prompt the customer to insert their card into the chip card slot. The chip card slot if typically located at the bottom of the payment terminal. Their card should be facing up with the chip closest to the terminal. Remind customers that their chip card should be left in the terminal during the transaction.

Step #3:

Cardholders will be prompted to provide a signature or a PIN, or both. Some transactions may not require either method. This all depends on your specific terminal. Follow your terminal instructions carefully.

Step #4:

The customer should then follow the on-screen prompts and remove the card when prompted to do so by the terminal. Remind customers to remove their chip cards from the terminal and take their card with them.

As your staff goes through the checkout process, ask that they communicate with you regarding any common use case scenarios that haven’t been addressed in training so that they can be included in future training sessions and/or updates.


In Case You Missed It

Constellation Payments has achieved EMV terminal certification with Elavon and Vantiv. That means our channel partners’ software customers can accept chip cards at their business through a completely integrated, EMV-compliant payment terminal. Each terminal is enhanced to directly interface with our partners’ software.

See our integrated terminal solution set here. Not sure which terminal is best for your business? See our article: Help! Which EMV Payment Terminal Should I Use in My Business?

If you have any questions about our terminal solution set, or need assistance on choosing the right terminal for you business, feel free to give us a call at 888.248.7060 or send an email to

Angie Clarke is the Director of Product Integration at Constellation Payments. She works with Constellation Payments’ channel partners throughout the software integration process including testing, production, platform integration and support. Angie also manages the Constellation Payments’ platform enhancement plan. You can reach Angie by sending an email to


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