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Tom Lichford, VP retail technologies, NRF, recommends retailers seeking to achieve compliance with upcoming October 2015 EMV mandate take the following five steps:

1. CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE: “No matter what, start with customer experience,” advised Litchford. Retailers need to determine such factors as whether they will use self-service or traditional POS, customer prompts and screen displays, and how checkout speed will be impacted.

2. HARDWARE: The next step is selecting POS hardware. Retailers should seek terminals that can walk customers through EMV-compliant transactions, as high cashier turnover will limit the help associates can offer. Also, retailers must “future-proof” POS investments to avoid costly upgrades, and should consider including other POS technology rollouts, such as NFC and/or 2-D barcode readers.

3. SOFTWARE: Retailers must determine a variety of software specifications and networks.

“A debit card requires a PIN,” explained Litchford. “Also, you need to figure out how you stage the process of taking a credit card number. How do you handle multipurpose cards? Do you turn NFC on and off?”

4. TEST: Retailers must internally and externally test and certify their networks for each type of cardholder notification.

“The U.S. requires chip and signature verification, but some retailers may want to use chip and PIN,” said Litchford.

5. CIRCLE BACK: Retailers need to circle back and revisit their systems to solve problems like what to do when a customer accidentally leaves their card in an EMV-compliant card reader. Some retailers have changed their receipt process.

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