By Kimberly Berneck, Senior Vice President, Delivery Management | BTM Global
February 28, 2017


Improving payment technology, particularly with EMV, point-to-point encryption and tokenization, continues to be a priority for retailers. As high-profile security breaches persist in the news headlines, consumers are more wary of how, where and when their credit card information is transmitted.

EMV regulations are complex, the technology continues to morph, and multiple vendors are needed to make the transition a reality. These challenges are daunting for any retailer, let alone SMBs that often have less expertise and resources than Tier 1 retailers.

Despite this, I think there’s some good news for SMBs that are working on their transition to EMV.

Check your assumptions
Just because the big global retailers are implementing every facet of EMV doesn’t mean that it makes sense for your business. You might not require the level or depth of integration that larger retailers need for their omnichannel operations or payment processes. You can still give your customers an easy, streamlined payment or returns experience, but maybe there are one or two steps that you can do manually (and behind the scenes) to create the experience you want – rather than go to the expense and time of automating or integrating multiple systems.

Know what your customers really expect
If you have a niche business, or your customers know your brand intimately, or they have a very specific reason for buying from you, their expectations of the “buy anywhere, return anywhere” mentality may not apply as strongly. Do they expect an experience from you? Or is a fast, streamlined, and personalized purchasing and returns experience what they’re asking for (and where you can really shine)?

Explore standalone solutions
If most of your payment transactions are straightforward sales and returns, then you probably already have generally fast and cost-effective processes. In this case, you may be able to rely on standalone solutions to create the experience you want or achieve the security you need without having to go the lengths of a big retailer. For example, perhaps there’s a standalone device you can use for payments on your e-commerce site; maybe you only need to partially integrate your systems; or maybe you don’t get a lot of chargebacks and it’s not worth it to do full integrations. The bottom line is that there are a lot of direct payment and semi-integrated payment options that an SMB can use that will be cost-effective and make sense for your type of business.

The EMV world is complicated to navigate, but as an SMB you may actually have some advantages that call for a streamlined – and therefore less costly and complicated – implementation process that keeps your business secure and customers happy.