top of page
  • mfindeisen6

Retrofit Upgrade to Enable EMV at the Pump May be the Solution for Many During this Time

Published in FPMA’s Fueling Florida’s Future e-News – By Raymond Prothero, Vice President, Products and Programs, Sound Payments Petro Solutions –

The deadline to enable EMV at the pump is only months away. Just recently, Visa reiterated that the 2021 deadline is here to stay, which means after that time owners are responsible for fraud on non-compliant pumps. Many stations are concerned about the economic and financial impact associated with COVID-19. Without a doubt stations along with many businesses are facing a challenging time – both from implementing new procedures and the financial impacts associated with the economic environment. For this reason, it is even more paramount for a station to evaluate upgrade options to support EMV at the pump. A semi-integrated, retrofit solution can eliminate touch points at the pump with its contactless capabilities, simplify installations, remote support capabilities to support social distancing guidelines and serve as a cost-effective solution at a time when stations are concerned about their bottom line.

Stations state that one of the major obstacles is the high cost to upgrade to support EMV – most options involve a complete pump replacement, resulting in expenses in excess of $100,000 per site, not to mention the operational headaches of pulling up concrete and completely disrupting the daily operations and revenue. Unfortunately, they have not been prepared to take on this endeavor, and for many, it seems like a nightmare. The best option for stations (keeping in mind 2 million fueling points are not compliant and a large portion can’t afford the high costs of a complete replacement) is to upgrade by using an affordable retrofit solution. The key word is affordable because there are a number of vendors that may promote retrofit solutions but the price is still high and the solution is lacking in options.

The costs of noncompliance at the pump has resulted in more than $50 million in charge-backs in the last several quarters and as a result brand reputation becomes ruined when there is fraud found at the pump. The bottom line is that this decision is critical and will be a cost for a station no matter whether they choose to upgrade or not – without which it is then only a matter of time before they are hit with the costs of fraudulent activity, which can put them completely out of business. As an industry, we need to do a better job of providing information to stations about their options so they can evaluate and make an informed decision.

When evaluating there are some key points to consider – does the vendor provide a semi-integrated solution at the pump? Does the upgrade support future proofing the technology? Is there a solution available to help upgrade the in-store point-of-sale technology at the same time? Is it reasonably priced?

Retrofit Your Pump, Enable EMV: End the Nightmare

A retrofit payment solution for the dispenser is an easier and less expensive option for enabling EMV at the pump. Your customers account data is read via microprocessor, encrypted at the terminal and sent to the processor as encrypted data. This means it’s very difficult for the bad guys to steal the information and your reputation as a business. To add, with encryption over the wire or over the air, thieves cannot easily capture the information and put it to any useful purpose. To a sniffer, it becomes a jumbled set of incoherent bytes and bits and thus worthless without a decryption key. In addition, a good system is hardened for breach, meaning if its tampered with in any way, the system will stop working and render itself useless to the attempted theft. Traditional industry certifications for EMV still takes 9+ months to complete through a fully integrated system. If you are looking for an inexpensive alternative for EMV at your C-Store, a retrofit solution is the way to go:

• Easy to install – install in an hour or less per dispenser • Cost Savings – cut your costs by over half • Minimize downtime – upgrade a pump at a time instead of taking down the whole store • Secure your investment – End to End encryption from Dip of the card to Processing • Integration to most major POS providers • Contactless capabilities to eliminate touch points

With todays’ advice by the CDC and WHO to practice social distancing to reduce the amount of human contact, a cloud-based, simplified solution allows for much of the process to be completed remotely with only one to two people needed for an onsite install.

Why semi-integration at the pump?

Full integration includes the payment application as a part of the core POS solution. It handles every aspect of transaction, from reading the barcode scan or Chip on Card and pushing the credit card data to the processor to managing inventory. All card data is handled by the POS and therefore in direct PCI scope. For each change done in a fully integrated solution, a complete certification of the entire  solution is usually required by the processor to maintain the security and integrity mandated by PCI. Timing of a full integration can take months to complete and include full certification of the POS, forecourt, and payment processing hardware and software components of the solution. Anytime a change is made to any of these a full certification can be problematic in the event of software recycles and custom changes as well as time consuming to both the POS provider and merchant to deploy new solutions to the field.

With semi-integration, the terminal or device used to capture customer card data is connected to the POS application. However, there is clear separation from payment and the actual transaction. In a semi-integrated solution, the transaction from POS is often connected only with a single piece of data tying the card authorization from the terminal to the transaction processing and backend systems (forecourt, back office etc.). All card processing bypasses the POS and goes directly from terminal to the processor. Therefore, no sensitive data is shared with POS and PCI is not in effect for the POS or in-store systems involved. Stations are required to upgrade in 2021, and if they find the right vendor that provides an affordable solution, they can come out of this nightmare ahead of the game.

At a minimum a convenience store has the in-store POS, pumps and a forecourt controller. The forecourt controller traditionally has the payment application and control the fuel pumps. In order for a convenience store to be operate effectively, the in-store POS needs to be able to authorize the card as an attended solution and turn the pump on via the forecourt for the authorized amount. Once the fuel is pumped it needs to complete the transaction for the total amount of fuel pumped. The payment system must also support unattended payments for pay-at-the-pump terminals in much the same manner.  In addition, the sales data needs to be available for accounting and reconciliation at the end of each shift and day. The challenge for stations is to ensure the attended POS system works with their unattended pay-at-the-pump solution and they both work with the forecourt controller. This is further complicated with EMV and the primary difference between full integration and semi-integration.

If you can get the complete solution from one vendor you expect that they should work together and have only one place to go for support. Additionally, with technology that supports the future, a station could benefit from additional features such as ordering at the pump and a terminal that accepts contactless payment transactions. This however does not detract from the costs to upgrade and remain compliant as the industry evolves. As stated above each change typically involves a complete solution re-evaluation which equates to cost to both the business and the merchant-customer relationship. With semi-integration this burden is reduced because the POS and its components can be easily updated all the while not having a direct impact on the payment solution. With the Sound Payments semi-integrated solution, updates can take place systematically and not force a site to close while underway. This allows the business to continue operating and the customer relationship to continue flourishing all while keeping the solution both compliant and safe from the bad guys. Further the solution removes the dependency on POS for changes and re-certification by decoupling the payment from the transaction. There are many of benefits for stations to select semi-integrated as their EMV solution. While it may seem like a nightmare today, many will come out ahead, if they take the action today to understand what is involved, evaluate their business challenges and choose a vendor for providing the solution to meet the needs.

For more information about Sound Payments, email us at or visit

13 views0 comments


bottom of page