Why EMV credit cards will make life easier–and harder–for hoteliers

As most industry experts predicted, the rollout of EMV has been slow and oftentimes frustrating. (Par Springer-Miller)

This article is part two of a three-part series on POS systems. Here is part one.

Europay, MasterCard and Visa chip credit cards will make life easier and harder for hoteliers at the same time. The cards primarily will be business as usual for businesses processing the new cards. It is as simple as replacing the swipe because the card is taken into the machine, but workflows can be slowed because of that process, experts have said.

It won’t be as impacted in the hotels as much as it will in the point-of-sale systems, said Roberta Braum, director of product management for Agilysys. “Quick-service and retail scenarios will definitely be a concern,” she said. “The total transaction time will be impacted since there is more logic happening on the device. The transaction sequence and communication time it takes won’t be able to be reduced, unfortunately.”

“Now the guest or customer has to wait to pull the card out of the machine, then the staff has to wait for the guest to put the card away in his or her wallet before helping the next person.”

As most industry experts predicted, the rollout of EMV has been slow and oftentimes frustrating.

“The effort to architect, build and certify these solutions amongst the thousands of businesses within the U.S. payments network has proven to be difficult and very costly,” said Chris Donahue, director of product management for Springer-Miller Systems. “SMS has spoken to many of our clients who have real questions regarding the return on investment for implementing EMV within their organization.  The cost to upgrade solutions and purchase EMV-capable payment terminals can be significant, so many hoteliers are weighing these expenses against other capital expenditure initiatives.”

Many of the EMV card readers often don’t work correctly—all the details are not ironed out either, said Greg Grant, senior director for Phoenix Managed Networks.

“It does protect the individual cardholder from fraud but it doesn’t protect the big data repository from being stolen,” he said. “Every hotelier and merchant want a silver bullet to protect against data theft and it just doesn’t exist. Hackers are incredibly clever people and oftentimes they work in the companies that are creating this technology to begin with.”