PCI and EMV: A Car Washer’s Guide $slvr_title
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PCI and EMV: A Car Washer’s Guide

Just when car wash operators were starting to get a handle on PCI compliance, along comes EMV. And with it comes a whole new host of questions. What is EMV? Does it replace PCI? Is it mandatory?

First things first, EMV is NOT a replacement for PCI. While both work towards the same goal, they are not connected. They serve different purposes and have different requirements.

Let’s see how they differ and how both help protect merchants and customers.

PCI


The Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) was formed in 2006 by the five major credit card companies to create standards that ensure the secure handling of credit card information. There are 12 broad PCI requirements and 300+ sub-requirements, but here are the key points:
Compliance requirements are defined by the payment card brands and are applied by acquirers. As such, your merchant account acquirer is the best resource for compliance questions and guidance.

EMV


EMV stands for Europay, Mastercard, Visa, the three companies that created the global standard for chip-based debit and credit card transactions. While an EMV transaction uses the same card data as a magnetic stripe transaction, it also includes an encrypted data element (or cryptogram) which changes in every transaction. The cryptogram is generated by the chip on the EMV card and cannot be produced by a fraudulent card.

EMV is optional. However, not deploying EMV technology can put you at greater risk for financial loss from chargebacks. Also, you should consider consumer perception. Consumers are now familiar with EMV and may consider magnetic stripe processing as unsafe or outdated.

Better Together


PCI compliance helps protect credit card data that is stored, processed, and transmitted, but it doesn’t do anything to validate a specific card transaction. EMV prevents businesses from accepting counterfeit cards but doesn’t do anything to protect credit card data after the swipe. Consequently, EMV isn’t a substitute for PCI compliance, and PCI isn’t a replacement or catchall for EMV. The two combine to improve overall credit card security.

When selecting a point-of-sale system for your car wash, payment security should be top of mind. Ask any vendor you are considering how their system will help you maintain PCI compliance. Be sure to verify through the PCI website that the software has been validated. Additionally, you’ll want to consider EMV and whether your POS provider can support it. Taking the time to do the proper due diligence from the start can save you from compliance headaches and financial losses in the future.


About Rich Carpenter:
Rich has spent his career bridging the gap between customers and product development. Since 2002, he has put that expertise to work at Unitec, helping the company develop powerful point-of-sale and business management technology solutions for the car wash industry. To this end, he works closely with car wash operators, C-Stores, distributors and manufacturers to determine their unique needs. Using this information, he directs activities that allow Unitec to develop and deliver products that will truly drive customer ROI. LinkedIn

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