EMV 101

You may have noticed that your mailbox has had a steady stream of replacement credit and debit cards landing in it over the last year.  While banks generally only reissue cards after they are lost or stolen, or a few months before they expire, in this case, the culprit is something called EMV.  EMV stands for “Europay, MasterCard and Visa” — the three companies that originally developed the technical standards for smart card processing. EMV was developed as a safer alternative to traditional magnetic stripe cards. What makes a card compatible with EMV?  If you look at an older credit card, you’ll see that it contains the aforementioned magnetic stripe on the back, which is “swiped” through a card reader at the POS (point of service) — which includes those embedded in self-service kiosks — to process a payment.  EMV cards (sometimes referred to as chip cards) on the other hand, store the card’s information on an integrated circuit on the front of the card. The information can then be read in two different ways — via contact or contactless technology. “Contact” cards require that the card be inserted into a reader and that it remain there throughout the transaction; “contactless” (NFC) cards are able to be read via radio-frequency identification technology over short distances, i.e. the space between the customer and the individual assisting them with the transaction.
Why the shift in technology?  It primarily comes down to two factors — enhanced security and better control of “offline” transaction approvals. This reduction in fraud is at the core of the “liability shift” that’s been the topic of much discussion for businesses both large and small.  Because the chip system supposedly offers much better security for card transactions, it has allowed banks and card issuers to “shift” the onus of responsibility for fraudulent payments over to the business at which the transaction was completed if it was made on non-EMV capable (magnetic stripe) systems, beginning in October of 2015. This new technology standard has meant that all businesses that accept credit cards have had to update and often, entirely replace, their POS systems and kiosks with versions that are capable of reading these EMV-capable cards. Now that we’ve covered the basics of EMV, next week, we’ll take a look at the available hardware and software options for those affected by the Great Liability Shift of 2015, with a particular focus on our speciality —  kiosk systems. RedyRef, a provider of vertically integrated kiosk solutions, is helping companies of all sizes navigate the complexities of the liability shift. Looking for assistance? Submit a request for proposal online or call (800) 628-3603 today for more information.

Successful Kiosk Deployment in a Crowded Marketplace

Anyone with a kiosk business that’s competing for consumer attention with other companies — especially the big guns, like Redbox, Coinstar or Bank of America — knows how difficult it can be to grab the eyeballs needed to make a kiosk profitable. Add to that the appearance of large format “mini stores” that operate like vending machines, but for high-end products, such as the ones Proactive, Benefit and Apple utilize, and standing out often begins to seem almost impossible.  So, what are some ways to increase the likelihood of a kiosk program’s success?

  1. Location, location, location.  Yes, it’s a cliche, but it’s also true. And in this case, considering location well in advance — at the time of product concepting — has an impact in two different but important ways:
    1. Does the kiosk need to be manufactured out of a certain kind of material due to the weather/climate or in order to withstand years of use by customers? Will it require special lighting to be seen/used correctly?  The environment in which the kiosk will be located will ultimately inform the design.
    2. If the initial location isn’t resulting in consumer traction, will the potential to move it to another area be a possibility?  If this is the case, the kiosk should be designed with the assumption that it will need to roll or have some element of modularity so that it can easily be moved from one place to another if necessary.

  2. Design. A kiosk must be designed as if you will only have one chance to make an impression — because that’s not far from the truth.  The first time a potential user walks by your kiosk, they’ll most likely notice it, especially if they’re walking a path that they’ve often walked before, such through the entrance of a grocery store.  Their brain is more likely to notice something novel in the environment at that time, even if remains largely subconscious. Grabbing attention with lights, sound or bold color and signage are all options for getting noticed on a more conscious level.  However, this effect doesn’t last long, and the choice of whether or not to interact with the kiosk is made in a split second. How can you ensure that a customer will choose to engage, rather than walking right by? Make them want to reach out and touch it. When designing for a consumer audience, it’s easy to get sidetracked by a million different issues, but if the design doesn’t compel engagement, the kiosk may as well not exist.
  3. It has to work, work well and work correctly every, single time.  It’s tempting to go for style over over substance in the race to be noticed, but if the kiosk doesn’t seamlessly provide a service that the consumer just can’t do without, it’s likely that you’ll end up trading long-term revenue for a quick flash of initial interest. Design your kiosk with customers in mind first and and foremost. The user experience must be one that the consumer is drawn to again and again. Repeat customers are the difference between profit and loss.

Clearly, it takes plenty of strategic planning and careful execution to deploy a kiosk program successfully — we never said it was easy. RedyRef knows what it takes to give your company a greater chance of success in a crowded market. Simply submit a request for proposal online or call (800) 628-3603 today for more information.