Apr 01, 2020

Get to EMV Faster

A recent press release from NACS informed the industry that they and several other influencing associations sent a letter to card companies asking for a delay to the October 2020 deadline for outdoor EMV and the associated liability shift. The letter seems to focus on replacing fuel pumps (referenced as AFDs, automated fuel dispensers, in the article) and the complications associated with getting these units installed before the outdoor EMV deadline. What is not mentioned, is that replacing pumps is not the most cost and time effective way to solve for outdoor EMV.

[UPDATE] On April 9, 2020, NACS announced that Visa denied their request for a deadline delay. While NACS plans to continue the conversation with Visa, anxieties surrounding October 2020 have been re-ignited as time and resources for the necessary updates continue to be affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

[UPDATE 2] On May 1, 2020, NACS announced that Visa has extended the EMV deadline to April 1, 2021. This six-month delay is an exciting opportunity for the industry to reevaluate their EMV equipment upgrade strategy and to look into new opportunities like retrofit kits. 

This post will focus on the reasons listed by NACS to delay the outdoor EMV liability shift timeline in their initial letter request, and how using certified and pre-integrated retrofit kits can save the fuel industry millions in installation hours, and hundreds of millions in cost to complete the migration to outdoor EMV.

#1: Installation Time and Availability of Technicians

Replacing fuel pumps on a forecourt is a time-consuming process that requires significant resources and adherence to guidelines that ensure environmental and safety concerns are followed. The best way to address the issues of prolonged installation time and low availability of technicians, is to drastically simplify the process of implementing outdoor EMV. This starts with leaving the pump hydraulics in place.

Instead of replacing an entire fuel pump, retailers can simplify by changing the payment components at a fraction of the fuel dispenser cost. Furthermore, by integrating EMV payment components into retrofit kit panels and/or doors, the installation process can be simplified even more. Because it is a much easier installation, time is significantly reduced, fewer technicians are needed for the installation, and technicians from outside the industry can easily perform the retrofit with minimal training. Unlike a full fuel pump replacement, permits are not required for a retrofit kit installation, meaning the installation process can start sooner. The process can be further accelerated by delivering the retrofit kits as terminals that are pre-integrated into door or door panels.

#2: Waiting on Certifications

While it is important that the end-to-end certification is complete for the in-store system with the outdoor EMV solution, if the industry waits until all these certifications are complete before starting installs of outdoor EMV equipment, it is likely the EMV deadline (regardless if it is moved or not) will be missed by more than a year. However, many outdoor EMV solutions can be installed to work with a fuel site’s current store system using magnetic stripe cards and can be updated to support outdoor EMV when the software becomes available. In some cases, these software updates can be implemented for the store system and the outdoor payment terminal remotely via the cloud.

Picture this, one retailer with thousands of locations under management took months to work through a pay-at-pump equipment install for each their fuel dispensers. During the entirety of the rollout of EMV retrofit kits, all the retailer’s fuel dispensers were operating in magnetic stripe mode. As the pay-at-pump rollout progresses, the retailer’s IT team was simultaneously working with their payment system provider to become certified for outdoor EMV transactions. By the time the pay-at-pump EMV equipment rollout was complete, they had also completed their certifications and were able to rollout the now-certified EMV software to all of their fuel dispensers at all of their fuel sites in a matter of weeks via the cloud. There was no need to have a service technician visit all these sites again, and the entire process could be managed remotely.

So combining this approach to rolling out equipment in magnetic stripe mode with the time and cost savings of using third party, pre-integrated retrofit solutions means that the industry can get to more secure solutions now (even in magnetic stripe mode) and can get to outdoor EMV faster and at a huge cost savings.

#3: The Big One … PRICE

New fuel dispensers are expensive. If a dispenser still works but is being replaced to get outdoor EMV, retailers are funneling money to replace items that do not need replacing. Retrofitting is the more-affordable option. Retrofit kits are less expensive because of the associated parts, installation time and numbers of service technicians required to perform an installation.

The table below shows example numbers from three installation types:

Install Type

# of Techs Required

Install Time

New Fuel Pump


4 to 6 hours

Retrofit Kit from Fuel Pump Manufacturer


3 hours

Third Party Pre-Integrated Retrofit Kit


45 to 90 minutes


If the entire US fuel industry decided to proceed with using Third Party Pre-Integrated Retrofit kits instead of installing fuel dispensers, the industry could save 1.95 to 2.75 million hours of install time. This would save the industry US$217.5 – US$315 million in installation fees based on a $50/hour rate for a service technician.

The market now also offers pricing programs where you can pay for outdoor EMV-as-a-service. What this means is that retailers will pay an installation fee (which is significantly smaller than installing new pumps) and from there, a set monthly fee for each terminal, to the tune of $115 per month per pump/per month on a 4-year service deal. Outdoor EMV-as-a-service is an “all in” price which means all warranty and all service is included in that price. Retailers will not pay anything other than the installation charges and the monthly fee for the contract. The exception here are for intentional damage (like vandalism) which are generally covered in a site’s insurance plans.

Check out the break down below for an example of a fuel pump replacement versus EMV as-a-service plan:

The table below illustrates a 4-fuel dispenser retail fuel site:

Install Type Upfront Cost
New Fuel Pump $80 - 100k
New Retrofit Kits from Fuel Pump Manufacturer $40 - 60k
EMV as-a-service

$4 - 7k for installation

$115.00 per pump/per month (two sides)


So, let’s extend that across the industry with an approximate 120,000 sites and 600,000 pumps:

Install Type Upfront Cost
New Fuel Pump $9.6 - 12 billion
New Retrofit Kits from Fuel Pump Manufacturer $4.8 - 7.2 billion
EMV as-a-service

$480 - 840 million

$2.7 billion (over the next 4 years)


The EMV as-a-service offering will save $6.47 - $8.51 billion over installing new dispensers and $1.67 - $3.71 billion over installing retrofit kits without the as-a-service program.

These are large industry extrapolations and are being used to emphasize a couple of points:

  • There are more cost-effective solutions to getting to outdoor EMV than replacing fuel pumps
  • Cost savings are even more pronounced when viewed across a larger population of pumps (costs to the industry), including larger fuel retail locations (with 8 to 64+ pumps).

Furthermore, this doesn’t yet address how aftermarket parts are priced for pay-at-pump systems in the event of repairs or changes to EMV that require replacement parts. Before deciding on how to upgrade to EMV, retailers should review past invoices for repairs over the life of their outdoor payment equipment (screens, card readers, printers, soft keys, keypads) and see just how much they are paying. Some retailers have found that a single repair would cover the cost of their EMV solution for the four-year period for a pump.

The bottom line of this article is to restate to retailers that it will take a significant amount of time, money, and effort to complete this migration to outdoor EMV and avoid the costs associated with the liability shift. However, with retrofit kits available for almost every pump model in the US market, there are options that can get the industry there faster and for less expense. Here is a quick snapshot of why now, more than ever, outdoor EMV retrofit kits are the best option for retailers to meet the outdoor EMV deadline whether that be in October 2020, or further down the line.

  • Installation time = faster with retrofit kits than installing pumps
  • Availability of technicians = retrofit kits are easier to install and to train new technicians
  • Waiting for permits = not required for retrofit kits
  • Waiting for certifications = install in magstripe mode and upgrade remotely later
  • Cost = retrofit kits cost a fraction of what a new EMV enabled pump costs, and new options are available which reduce the up-front costs of going to outdoor EMV and provide 4 years of warranty and service

Whether retailers are optimizing their final solution in terms of amount of time to complete the migration, or for total cost to the industry, fully-certified third party retrofit solutions deliver a better outcome both in the initial EMV investment and for total cost of ownership for the life of the product.