EMV Rollout Best Practices Guide

April 28, 2017

In its most recent EMV monthly update, Visa announced that a full 46% of their in-store payments came from chip-enabled machines, a roughly 100% increase over January 2016. As this extensive implementation continues to advance – driven by both consumer safety concerns and government regulation – more companies will be forging into the delicate technological challenges that EMV presents.

Strategic Preparation

To optimize efforts and avoid costly setbacks, nailing the preparation phase is crucial. Applying a disciplined purchasing strategy offers several key advantages. If your team limits itself to a single hardware manufacturer and fewer than three models per site you can harness your buying power and capitalize on the savings inherent in volume purchases.  

Further, a limited hardware pallet makes it easier to maintain a library of backup stock – or “crash kits” – on hand for any failed units in the field during the rollout process. In addition to peace-of-mind, crash kits will significantly improve your site completion rate, while holding site revisits to a minimum.

When taking this approach, keep in mind that logistics will factor heavily into the success of your rollout. Having direct warehousing and shipping capability is a huge advantage, and ultimately provides cost savings. Having absolute certainty that your parts will be in the right place at the right time is essential. 


After you’ve established a prudent purchasing strategy, your next opportunity comes from site surveys that identify any potential onsite risks that you can reduce or eliminate before deployment. For example, you might note the Point-of-Sale equipment standard to your rollout, and detail key programming differences that could affect installation. Including these variations in your training programs or installation guide will ensure the on-site process is frictionless as possible, and save valuable time at each location.

When possible, stage your units prior to shipping them to the site. Any step you can take to reduce your time on site will pay off in the long run. Define and limit the IP settings you will need, and have them available before site arrival.

Field Support

It’s wise to run a couple of jobs in advance of the full rollout to establish the optimal project management approach and fine-tune the details over a few test run. An experienced Project Management team is one of the surest paths to a smooth implementation. Seasoned PMs working with experienced technicians may seem costly up-front, but the money you’ll save in speed and efficiency – as well as avoiding screw-ups – is well spent.

Even the best teams need quality tools, and supplying a convenient monitoring tool for both the project management team and high-level personnel is key to success.

A cumulative web portal is an easy solution. With a web portal, any appropriate personnel can access crucial project data such. Your PMs need to know which sites are completed, which are still underway, and which are still in development. Shipments and schedules can be tracked in real-time.

There is no better way for you to assist your on-site technicians than with proper training and thorough documentation. Write custom installation guides that account for hardware variations (in both POS and EMV). As your project moves forward, debrief your crews to learn anything you can that might make it easier for the next team. “Lessons learned” sections or troubleshooting guides can put your hard-earned experience to good use.


Most importantly, having secured, highly trained, experienced, and prepared technicians performing the installations is paramount.  Do not underestimate the security factor here. Any compromise of the EMV security can be catastrophic. Unfortunately, black market hardware has been keeping up with industry models, so the possibility of a fake terminal being installed by a fake technician is technically feasible. It’s never been more vital to secure a reliable, field-tested team to execute your deployment. Fraud can happen, and litigation is a real threat. The PR fallout of a security slip in credit card processing would be devastating.


As with most tech projects, upfront investments in time and effort pay massive dividends over the course of the rollout. Plan your technology, train your staff, document everything, and always apply what you learn from job to job. It might be harder in the beginning, but it produces appreciable dividends throughout the project.


Jeff Welch
Director of Business Development
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