By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Planning on “sliding” your credit card when filling up your RV? That won’t last long, as Visa and Mastercard have drawn a line in the sand with gas stations across the country. Come October, all gas pumps that take credit and debit cards will need to accept “chip” cards. Those that don’t will be liable for any fraudulent card transactions. It’s a demand that’s thrown the convenience store industry into a complete tizzy.
This isn’t a new issue – other businesses that do card transactions have for the most part already made the change. But fuel sellers have been dragging their feet, and have managed to pull delays from the credit card industry – until now. Caught with their fuel hoses in a knot, gas retailers are going to find it hard to meet the mandate on time, as with so little time to make the change remaining, there aren’t enough technicians to perform the work, and not enough equipment in inventory to make the changeover.
Just how many gas retailers need to make the change? Last year, only about 30 percent of those responding to a survey said they’d upgraded their pumps to the new EMV chip technology. It’s an expensive changeover to be sure, but the costs of paying for fraudulent transactions needs to be weighed in the thinking. Projections from the credit card industry suggest a fuel station that doesn’t make the change, but bears the cost of fraud on its own, could be in deep. With the industry seeing an estimated $451 million in fraud transactions in 2020, a gas station could easily see $201,000 in fraudulent transactions over the next seven years. The cost of converting a gas pump to a chip-reading system is said to run $6,000 to $10,000 per pump.