1. What is EMV?

EMV stands for Europay MasterCard & Visa, but it is what is commonly used to identify “pin & chip” credit cards. EMV is designed to reduce credit card fraud at the point of sale by reducing the ability to create a counterfeit credit card. Pin & Chip cards require specific chip reading equipment and must be used with the card physically present at the time of sale. This technology has been widely used in Europe for the last decade, with a recent push for greater adoption in the United States. As of October 2015, the card brands will require all card processing companies to provide a solution for EMV. In addition, businesses will be “held financially liable for any resulting card present counterfeit fraud losses” (Visa U.S EMV Chip Readiness Guide).

2. Who needs to upgrade?

The card brands (Visa, MasterCard & Discover) do NOT require all businesses to accept EMV. The October 2015 EMV liability changes only apply to retail businesses, or businesses with a point of sale/check out system. After the deadline, these businesses will be responsible for fraudulent transactions originating from a counterfeit card that was accepted in person, IF the chip was not processed through the EMV system. Your current liability for non-EMV fraud will not change, and will continue to be managed between the issuing and acquiring banks.

3. Will this impact my Law Firm?

The impact of EMV is determined by how your firm processes payments. Do you accept payments in person, and if so, do you use a card-swipe method to process? Most law firms do not operate or manage payments with a traditional retail or point of sale system. Since cards are not consistently “swiped” or physically present for payment of legal services, the October liability shift will not apply to the majority of law firms. Fortunately, law firms rarely have issues with accepting counterfeit or stolen cards so the advantage of an EMV system is not as beneficial.

4. LawPay solutions

Good news! If your firm is using LawPay’s custom web-based solution, you do NOT need to make any changes. The October EMV Liability shift does not apply to web-based processing. Firms using a traditional credit card terminal, AND swiping the majority of transactions have the option to upgrade to an EMV compatible terminal. If you believe your firm is at risk for accepting counterfeit credit cards from your clients, EMV will provide additional protection by validating card information through a chip reader and client-entered pin number. LawPay has new EMV terminals available for firms requesting an upgrade. To discuss your EMV options, please contact LawPay support at 800.459.5798.

5. What else can I do to protect my firm?

PCI Compliance is still required by the card brands for any business accepting credit card payments. LawPay is here to provide a secure and safe method for processing credit card payments in your firm. It is important to remain PCI Complaint and protect sensitive card holder information. If you have not already completed your PCI audit and self-assessment questionnaire, we encourage you to do so. LawPay provides PCI Compliance and support at no additional cost. Our compliance staff is readily available to discuss compliance and overall best practices for processing payments