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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Help! Do I Really Need to Upgrade to an EMV Chip Card Terminal?


We get asked this question all the time, so I figured I’d answer it here on our blog.

While it’s technically true that no one is going to force you to upgrade to an EMV chip card terminal, it is not a gamble that is advisable, and it all has to do with how risk is viewed in a post-EMV world.

Continue reading “Help! Do I Really Need to Upgrade to an EMV Chip Card Terminal?”

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How Payments Are Done: The Top 5 Blog Posts of 2015

Hard to believe we’ll be ringing in 2016 at the end of this month. That means now is the perfect time to reflect back on this year.

In May, we launched the How Payments Are Done blog with a specific mission in mind: to keep our business partners and merchant clients updated and armed with payment strategies that work.

Throughout the past seven months, we’ve covered a broad range of topics from EMV and tokenization, to card not present (CNP) fraud and mobile commerce.

Now let’s see which of those posts got the most attention — and might just warrant printing out and keeping at your desk to refer to again and again. Continue reading “How Payments Are Done: The Top 5 Blog Posts of 2015”

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What Is Card Present Fraud? How Can It Be Prevented?

“What does ‘card present fraud’ mean? … How can it be prevented?”

I get asked these questions all the time and you likely have questions around it yourself. I’m hoping to clarify card present fraud for you — and shed light on how to put a stop to it.

Stay tuned for my next post. I’ll cover card NOT present fraud and what do to about it.

Continue reading “What Is Card Present Fraud? How Can It Be Prevented?”

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Help! I Process Very Few Credit Card Transactions Each Month. Do I Need to Worry About EMV?

I only process about five transactions a month with a card presented by a member we know. Do I really need to worry about fraud and switch to an EMV terminal?

Rick Ellis’ Answer to “Do I Need to Worry about EMV If I Process Very Few Credit Card Transactions?”:

This is a common misconception. Merchants with low transaction amounts think they’re less at risk of fraud, but in fact, are MORE at risk.

Here’s why:

Continue reading “Help! I Process Very Few Credit Card Transactions Each Month. Do I Need to Worry About EMV?”

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EMV Merchant Liability Shift: Who Covers the Cost of Credit Card Fraud Starting October 1st?

Understandably, one of the biggest concerns about the EMV changes that take effect here in the U.S. on October 1st is the impact of the merchant liability shift.

Right now, as it has been for the longest time, card issuers are the ones who bear the brunt of most credit card fraud.

Starting October 1st, this will change. Under certain conditions, card issuers are no longer going to cover a merchant’s risk associated with transactions that result in fraud.

So what are those conditions? We’ve developed a simple chart to give you a concrete understanding of the different possible scenarios and how they will affect merchants that accept credit cards.  Continue reading “EMV Merchant Liability Shift: Who Covers the Cost of Credit Card Fraud Starting October 1st?”

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Clear Up “EMV Chip Technology Confusion” with These 4 Resources

It won’t be just any old Thursday. Come October 1, 2015, the U.S. will flip the switch to a three letter acronym we all should get used to hearing: EMV.

Named after its original developers, Europay, MasterCard and VISA, EMV is a set of specifications for chip cards and the devices — such as point of sale payment terminals — that are used to accept chip card payments.

Why the change? EMV chip technology is proven to significantly reduce card fraud resulting from counterfeit, lost and stolen cards.

If you haven’t already, you’ll soon see:

  • Consumers whip out new chip cards to make in-store purchases.
  • Merchants with new point of sale terminals that accept chip cards.
  • Chip cards being inserted into terminals instead of being swiped.

You’ll also see the emergence of contactless payment methods — like Apple Pay — where customers make purchases by holding their contactless card or mobile phone in front of a reader — rather than inserting a card.

With all these changes comes, of course, plenty of questions. Fortunately, there is no shortage of guidance.

Here are four resources we strongly recommend checking out in the next few weeks to get up to speed on EMV
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Help! Which EMV Payment Terminal Should I Use in My Business?

I recently received an email from a merchant with a problem so common that I thought I’d share it with all of you. Many small business merchants are too busy running their businesses to keep up with the latest developments in payment processing hardware and security. That said, they’ve been informed that they will need new hardware or face increased liability in case of fraud.

So if you need a crash course in the different types of EMV terminals and their respective benefits, this post is for you.

Dear Rick,

I’m starting to panic. The liability shift is just 2 months away and we don’t have any EMV-ready terminals at our gym. Not sure how to begin the shopping process. Any insight would be hugely appreciated.

Continue reading “Help! Which EMV Payment Terminal Should I Use in My Business?”

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Top 5 Myths about EMV Every Merchant Should Know

If you accept credit cards in your brick-and-mortar business, you hopefully have heard the term EMV and are preparing your business to update its current credit card processing terminals.

More and more payment card issuers are replacing old payment cards with new ones which feature an embedded chip.

After October 1st, if a data breach causes customer financial data to be exposed, the liability for such a breach will fall to whichever party in the transaction has the lesser technology.

When a change like this affects so many merchants at the same time, deciding how to proceed can be stressful and even a bit confusing.

While much is known about EMV technology, there are also quite a few misconceptions. In this article, we’ll address 5 common EMV myths.

Continue reading “Top 5 Myths about EMV Every Merchant Should Know”

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Shift Happens. What You Need to Know About EMV & the October Deadline [SlideShare]

The merchant liability shift is coming, and with it, tons of news articles and online resources to sift through to try and understand its impact.

That’s why we created this one simple slideshow that spells out the upcoming EMV changes in easy-to-understand terms.

Take a look at the slideshow for need-to-know info on EMV and the new liability rules, then share the slides on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn by clicking the arrow button on the bottom of the presentation.

Grey Divider

Rick is a Business Development Executive with over 20 years of experience running a successful membership-based company built around a lucrative recurring revenue business model. As an Executive for Constellation Payments, a fully integrated and proprietary payment gateway and merchant service provider, as well as for Member Solutions, a leading provider of full-service billing for enterprise businesses, Rick enjoys working through complex business models, and leveraging proven payment processing strategies for maximum effect.


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