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Payments News Update – October 8, 2020

Posted  October 8, 2020

Legal and Regulatory Developments

SPOTLIGHT: House Panel Says Big Tech Wields Monopoly Power
Wall Street Journal – October 6, 2020

America’s biggest technology companies have leveraged their dominance to stamp out competition and stifle innovation, according to a Democratic-led House panel, which said Congress should consider forcing the tech giants to separate their dominant online platforms from other business lines. The report released Tuesday from Democratic staff of the House Antitrust Subcommittee capped a 16-month inquiry into the market power of Amazon. Republicans issued a separate response endorsing strong antitrust enforcement targeting the companies but didn’t endorse many of the Democrats’ policy prescriptions. It also accused the companies of bias against conservative viewpoints.

No legislative changes are imminent, but the report’s sweeping conclusions boost the odds for new laws in the future and publicizes evidence that will give momentum to the companies’ critics in both parties. In one snippet, the report describes an alleged effort by Facebook’s leadership to prevent the company’s Instagram app from competing with the original Facebook platform. “The question was how do we position Facebook and Instagram to not compete with each other,” the report quotes a former Facebook employee as saying. “If you own two social media utilities, they should not be allowed to shore each other up. It’s unclear to me why this should not be illegal.” . . .

Treasury to Probe Governance of Payments Regulation
BankingDay – October 7, 2020

AUSTRALIA – The Morrison Government has paved the way for an overhaul of regulatory arrangements in the domestic payments system after announcing a Treasury review to assess whether the existing framework is “fit for purpose”. Since the 1997 Wallis Inquiry, the Reserve Bank’s Payments System Board has been the chief regulator of the payments system, although APRA, ASIC and the ACCC also exercise licensing and other responsibilities across the sector. Details of the review were flagged by prime minister Scott Morrison last week but attracted little public attention because payments experts assumed that his announcement was a reference to the RBA’s delayed retail payments inquiry. However, disclosures in the 2020-21 budget papers clarified that Morrison was referring to a separate review to be conducted by Treasury officials.

Government sources confirmed to Banking Day last night that terms of reference for the Treasury review were being finalised and were expected to be made public in the next month. The government plans to have the Treasury review run in parallel to the RBA’s retail payments inquiry, which is examining options for how new payments services such as mobile payments and least cost routing will regulated in the future. The Treasury review is likely to consider whether the RBA’s responsibility for oversight of payments in Australia should be devolved to a stand-alone regulator as has occurred in other OECD countries such as New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Despite efforts in the last decade by New Zealand’s central bank to secure more influence over the payments system, the country’s lawmakers decided in 2013 to hand regulatory power to Payments NZ, an entity owned by bank participants. . . .

EU and US Making Potential Moves Towards the Standardization of Crypto Regulations
BitRates – October 7, 2020

The United States and the European Union are both bringing in major developments in the digital currency market through regulatory moves. Last week, a draft of a new set of regulations leaked in the EU from the European Commission known as MiCA, short for Markets in Crypto Assets, and was distributed throughout the internet. This leaked proposal appeared to provide a clarification about cryptocurrencies in the EU, including stablecoins and security tokens that are in compliance with MiFID, Europe’s Markets in Financial Instruments Directive, which is a trading value, securities market, and investment intermediaries framework.

The United States’ Conference of State Bank Supervisors, also known as the CSBS published a set of common rules for huge MSB, (Money Service Businesses) in the US, at the same time as the leaked draft from the European Union. These rules and regulations are aimed to standardize compliance processes throughout the nation across every state, leading to the possibility of money transmitters to be able to accomplish compliance in different states at the same time. This is only with regards to state-licensed transmitters. This move by the US and EU has gotten many people talking about the possibility of the standardization of crypto regulations. The developments might have significant consequences on the cryptocurrency industry globally. However, these two regulatory events have significant differences that have huge impacts on the way the US and the EU may perceive the future of crypto assets. It’s a matter of discussion on why the US and EU are so keen on bringing crypto into the regulatory fold as fast as possible. . . .

Consumers Reach $66.7m Deal With Banks Over ATM Fees
Law360 – October 6, 2020 (subscription required)

A group of consumers has asked a D.C. federal judge to preliminarily approve a $66.74 million deal with Bank of America and other financial institutions to end claims they fixed prices with credit card issuers to keep ATM fees inflated. If it gets the green light, the deal would be the first settlement out of class actions stretching back roughly nine years, encompassing three different cases in district court against Visa, MasterCard and a host of banking companies over ATM surcharges. The plaintiffs asked the judge to sign an order making Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP and Mehri & Skalet PLLC the settlement class counsel, should the deal be approved.

The total amount — including $26.42 million from Bank of America, $20.82 million from Wells Fargo and $19.5 million from Chase — represents 57.5% of the maximum single damages estimated for class transactions at those banks’ ATMs, according to a filing Monday. “That percentage demonstrates the strength of plaintiffs’ case and the settlements obtained. The settlements also leave nonsettling defendants Visa and MasterCard jointly and severally liable for the remainder of plaintiffs’ damages and secure cooperation from the bank defendants in the notice process and litigation,” the filing says. “The proposed settlements are an excellent result for the class. ” The named consumer plaintiffs in the case at hand, Andrew Mackmin and Sam Osborn, reached the deal with Bank of America, National Association; NB Holdings Corp.; Bank of America Corp.; Chase Bank USA NA; JPMorgan Chase & Co.; JPMorgan Chase Bank NA; Wells Fargo & Co.; and Wells Fargo Bank NA. . . .

Ripple Threatens to Leave U.S. Over Crypto Regulation
Fortune – October 6, 2020

A senior executive from Ripple, one of the country’s most prominent cryptocurrency firms, warned on Tuesday the company is close to moving its headquarters overseas in response to excessive regulation. Executive chairman Chris Larsen said San Fransisco-based Ripple has grown increasingly frustrated over what it perceives as a hostile attitude to the cryptocurrency industry by the federal government, and in particular the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Ripple has been locked in a long-running battle with the SEC and investors over whether the digital currency XRP is a security. While Ripple owns a large hoard of XRP, the company maintains that the network that oversees XRP transaction is decentralized like Bitcoin or Ethereum—two rival cryptocurrencies that the SEC has concluded are not centrally controlled, and therefore exempt from securities laws. Larsen made the comment about Ripple relocating during a virtual interview with Fortune at the LA Blockchain Summit. He added that nearly every other country offers a more favorable regulatory climate for crypto than the U.S., but named the U.K. and Singapore as the most likely destinations if Ripple leaves the U.S. . . .

Google Delays Mandating Play Store Payments Rule in India to April 2022
TechCrunch – October 4, 2020

Google  is postponing to April 2022 the enforcement of its new Play Store billing rule in India, days after more than 150 startups in the world’s second largest internet market forged an informal coalition to express concerns over the 30% charge the Android-maker plans to mandate on its store and started to explore an alternative marketplace for their apps. The company, which is going live globally with the new Play Store rule in September 2021, is deferring the enforcement of the policy only in India, it said. It is also listening to developers and willing to engage to allay their concerns, it said.

“We are setting up listening sessions with leading Indian startups to understand their concerns more deeply. We will be setting up Policy Workshops to help clear any additional questions about our Play Store policies. And we’re also extending the time for developers in India to integrate with the Play billing system, to ensure they have enough time to implement the UPI for subscription payment option that will be made available on Google Play — for all apps that currently use an alternative payment system we set a timeline of 31st March 2022,” said Purnima Kochikar, director of Business Development of Games & Applications at Google Play, in a statement. . . .

Nacha Amends ACH Rules in the Face of New ‘Channels’ and ‘Technologies’ for Payments
Digital Transactions News – October 2, 2020

Nacha has approved eight amendments to its operating rules governing the use of ACH payments. The amendments were approved as part of Nacha’s strategy to modernize the ACH network through infrastructure improvements and to make ACH payments easier to initiate for consumers, businesses, and other organizations. The new rules are intended to define explicit scenarios for reversal of ACH payments as invalid and enhance Nacha’s authority to enforce penalties for egregious rules violations, Nacha says.

Two amendments—Reversals and Enforcement and Limitation on Warranty Claims—are expected to play a key role in providing businesses, financial institutions, payment providers and technology companies with a framework for authorizing consumer ACH payments that can be applied to myriad new channels and technologies consumers and businesses are using to transact digitally. The reversals rule, which will become effective June 30, 2021, is intended to address improper uses of reversals by expanding permissible reasons to include a wrong date error. A wrong date error, for example, can be the reversal of a debit entry that was for a date earlier than intended by the originator, or a credit entry that was for a date later than intended by the originator. In addition, the rule will permit the receiving depository financial institution (RDFI) to return an improper reversal. . . .

Chase Bank Accused of Wrongly Charging Overdraft Fees
Law360 – September 24, 2020 (subscription required)

A proposed class action filed in California federal court on Thursday against Chase Bank alleges the institution routinely assesses overdraft fees on transactions that do not actually overdraw the accounts, leading to millions of dollars “bilked” from customers’ pocketbooks. According to the suit, Chase puts aside sufficient funds for transactions at the exact time they are authorized but will assess “crippling” overdraft fees of $32 on the same transaction when they “purportedly settle,” which can be days later, into a negative account balance. Plaintiff Jennifer Regala’s lawsuit said Chase “misrepresents its practices in its account documents” and that there is “no justification for these practices, other than to maximize Chase’s overdraft fee revenue.”

The suit said these type of transactions are called “Authorize Positive, Purportedly Settle Negative Transactions,” or APPSN transactions, and claims they violate the bank’s customer agreements because “in plain, clear, and simple language, the checking account contract documents covering overdraft fees promise that Chase will only charge overdraft fees on transactions that have insufficient funds to ‘cover’ that transaction”. Regala added, “In short, Chase is not authorized by contract to charge OD fees on transactions that have not overdrawn an account, but it has done so and continues to do so.” The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has “expressed concern with this very issue” and calls the practice “deceptive,” according to the suit. The lawsuit includes claims for breach of contract and violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law. It also seeks unspecified damages, restitution and an injunction preventing Chase from continuing the practice. . . .

Mastercard Tells Restaurants Interchange Fees Were Justified
Law360 – September 22, 2020 (subscription required)

Mastercard Inc. has hit back against allegations from a group of London restaurants including Sexy Fish and the Ivy that the transaction fees it charged them were unlawful, claiming the charges were necessary to complete payments. The card giant said in a Thursday defense filing that the non-negotiable fees that it required Caprice Holdings Ltd. and other merchants to pay were “efficiencies which exceeded any alleged adverse effects.” Therefore, the fees did not break U.K. and European Union competition rules, the payment giant said. The restaurant group and other merchants, including private members’ clubs Annabel’s and Mark’s Club, sued Mastercard on July 15 over transaction fees that they said were charged at unlawful levels that restricted competition, in line with a U.K. Supreme Court judgment.

But Mastercard said in its September defense filing that inter-regional interchange fees were “necessary and proportionate” for commercial card schemes. The credit card giant also said that central acquiring rules, which applied domestic interchange fees, did not restrict competition except for a short window between February 2014 and December 2015. Mastercard and rival Visa Inc. have been hit with a flood of similar litigation following decisions by the European Commission targeting their interchange fees. The swipe fees, as they are known, are the bank-to-bank charges behind the costs that merchants are required to pay to have their sales transactions processed. The claimants said in their July particulars of claim that Mastercard restricted competition by setting a default interchange fee, a central acquiring rule for these fees and payment scheme rules designed to prevent merchants from steering cardholders to lower cost payment agreements. . . .

Industry Developments

SPOTLIGHT: Facebook’s Moves Shake up ‘Big Tech’ Payments Balance
PaymentsSource – October 5, 2020

America’s tech giants Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple continue apace their march into payments. With Google Pay, Amazon Pay, Facebook Pay, and Apple Pay, they’ve put their brands foremost and use payments to boost on-platform engagement and commerce, reinforcing their centrality in consumers’ lives. They’ve taken an incrementalist approach, working with incumbent payment networks, processors, and banks, thus far. However, as their payments’ footprints broaden and deepen, that modus vivendi will be stressed. In particular, Facebook, the world’s leading social-media network outside China, bears watching. It’s starting to roll out Facebook Pay to two billion WhatsApp users and prepping to launch Libra, which could roil the reigning payments ecosystem.

Libra uses stablecoins backed by fiat currencies. If it gets traction it’ll be disruptive. However, building payment-network critical mass, and therefore value and relevance, is hard. Existing systems work. Consumers and merchants are creatures of habit in payments. The graveyard of payment systems is chock full of putatively better mousetraps. But, this potentially better mousetrap has a sponsor with 2.5 billion daily users worldwide and will leverage permissioned third parties to further extend its reach. It will compete with well-entrenched systems like Mastercard, PayPal, Visa, Western Union, and MoneyGram, and physical cash. Physical greenbacks will still enjoy advantages. They’re anonymous and don’t require electronic devices and connectivity to use. . . .

Innovation and Investment in Payments Is Hotting up Again — and It Could Spell Trouble for Stripe
Sifted – October 7, 2020

Unglamorous as it may seem, payments is one of the hottest areas of fintech investment. There has been €55.6bn worth of exits since 2013, more than the entire non-payment fintech space put together (which collectively cashed in €27.4bn). Yet for years, payments has lacked any real innovation, according to Paul Anthony — a former employee at PayPal’s Braintree and now the cofounder of Primer, a Balderton-backed payments startup which launched today.

The single biggest problem, he says, is that billion-dollar payment providers like Stripe and Adyen all do the same – helping online sites process money from customers —  and don’t “solve the actual problem for merchants” when they scale. Part of the issue is that when merchants pick a provider, they’re stuck with all of it; just like when you choose an iPhone, there’s no jumping into Android, he says. “Everyone writes about Stripe, but they’re not solving the big problem,” Anthony told Sifted. He explains that large merchants don’t want to rely on a single payment service provider (PSP) and most end up clumsily integrating several providers — or even building their own infrastructure to manage the issue. . . . .

The Real Cost of Overdraft Fees
American Banker – October 7, 2020

The fees have helped banks recoup costs of free or low-cost checking accounts for decades, but they can penalize low-income customers and drive them away from banking. Is there a better way?

ROMAN: So at the time, I wouldn’t say I was, you know, low low income. I can share what I was making, it was like, $45,000 at the time. I mean, I lived in New York, which put me above my means. And, sure, that was a decision that I kind of made. But at the same time, you know, that amount of money was enough to pay my food, my bills and everything else that I needed to do. There was just some sort of overlaps that occasionally, you know, I wasn’t saving anything, but I was able to survive. LAURA ALIX: This is my friend Roman, and he’s telling me about his experience with overdraft fees. ROMAN: And I bounced, I believe, two rent checks. And then I got an additional overdraft fee. And the bounce was because the time that it took for my paycheck to deposit, versus the time that it took for the check to clear was different. I was with, I believe, Bank of America at the time. ALIX: Did you try to get that reversed? ROMAN: I reached out to Bank of America, it was a very long process. They did not reverse it, claiming that it is not their fault. . . .

Fueled by COVID-19, Fiserv Says It Has Linked 200 Financial Institutions to Zelle in 2020
Digital Transactions News– October 7, 2020

Fiserv Inc. has onboarded 200 banks and credit unions to the Zelle peer-to-peer payments network since the start of the year, doubling the number of financial institutions it has brought into the network since 2017. Of the 200 financial institutions, more than 80% have gone live since March, when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. The accelerated growth since the start of 2020 is due to a combination of consumers’ increasing comfort with mobile payments, their growing preference for cashless transactions, and a streamlined onboarding process, Fiserv says.

Zelle allows consumers to send and receive money directly from one financial institution account to another in the United States. The network is operated by Early Warning Services LLC, which is owned by Bank of America Corp., BB&T, a unit of Truist Financial Corp., Capital One Bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co., PNC Bank, U.S. Bank, and Wells Fargo & Co. Early Warning partners with payment-technology providers such as Fiserv to connect financial institutions to the Zelle network. One of the ways Fiserv has streamlined its onboarding process for Zelle is by making it easier for banks to integrate Zelle into their digital-banking platform. In this way, Fiserv has reduced the time it takes for financial institutions to go live on the network from 10 to 12 months to as little as two to three months in some cases, says Derek Swords, vice president of electronic payments for Fiserv. . . .

Fast-Growing Shopify Adds a Crypto-Fiat Hybrid Payment Gateway From Alchemy Pay
Digital Transactions News– October 7, 2020

Shopify Inc., an e-commerce payments and marketplace platform that accounts for more U.S. e-commerce sales than any other company besides Inc., is adding a gateway that will allow consumers to pay for products from Shopify online stores using a choice of digital or fiat currencies. The so-called hybrid service comes from Alchemy Pay, a Singapore-based payments provider, and is available in a range of countries including the United States, Alchemy Pay announced Wednesday. The service supports nine cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin and Alchemy’s own currency, called ACH, and for fiat payments is supported by technology from China-based processor QFPay. Fiat payment methods accepted include PayPal, Alipay, and WeChat Pay, according to the announcement.

Ottawa, Ontario-based Shopify has proven to be a fast-growing platform for mid-size and smaller online merchants. Its gross merchandise volume totaled $61.1 billion last year, up 49% over 2018. About 1 million e-commerce sellers now use the Shopify platform, allowing the company to capture 5.9% of U.S. online sales volume in 2019, slightly ahead of eBay Inc. and second only to Amazon’s commanding 37.3% share, according to a chart on Shopify’s Web site that cites data service eMarketer as a source. “This partnership [with Shopify] effectively put the power of cryptocurrency acceptance in the hands of over a million Shopify e-commerce merchants who serviced over 218 million consumers in 2019,” noted Shawn Shi, Alchemy Pay’s head of product, in a statement. . . .

Could Coronavirus Chaos Bring Bill-Payment Back to Banks?
PaymentsSource – October 6, 2020 (subscription required)

Bank bill-payment sites have become less relevant over the last decade as more people go to billers’ websites to pay directly or use billers’ mobile apps — often at the last minute. But the COVID-19 pandemic could flip the script on the $4.6 trillion bill payment sector. Recent research from BillGO, a startup with an API-based consumer bill payment platform delivered through banks and fintechs, suggests consumers using scattered bill-payment methods are primed to centralize the task through modern, real-time solutions. “Before COVID, consumers assembled their own systems for paying bills but now they’ve got more financial pressure and angst because they don’t know if they have enough money to pay the same bills,” said Russ Chacon, BillGO’s senior vice president of product strategy.

It might be tough to sell a bank-centered bill payment solution to consumers who recall the slow, clunky legacy bank bill payment sites from 20 years ago. The percentage of bills paid through banks’ sites has declined to 22% in 2020 from 38% in 2010, according to a new research report Aite Group conducted with BillGO. Meanwhile, the percentage of bills consumers pay directly through billers’ own websites has increased over the same time period to 76% this year from 62% a decade ago, Aite said. . . .

Venmo Launches Credit Card With Focus on Splitting Payments and Mobile Design
MarketWatch – October 5, 2020

PayPal Holdings Inc.’s Venmo said Monday that it was beginning the rollout of its credit card, betting that a mobile-oriented design and a rewards experience tailored to personalized spending habits will draw users to the offering in a crowded market for rewards credit cards. The card lets users split payments more naturally and receive cash-back rewards directly into the Venmo app, which Venmo general manager Darrell Esch said was in keeping with the mobile and community focus of the popular peer-to-peer money-transfer service. Venmo, which announced last October that it would be launching a credit card but didn’t detail all of the card’s features until now, said Monday that certain users will be able to apply for the card immediately if they have the newest version of Venmo’s app, with a wider launch planned over the coming months.

While Venmo will be issuing cardholders physical cards, Esch said that the offering is centered on Venmo’s mobile app. Cardholders will be able to use the app to see and split transactions, track their spending habits and receive cash-back rewards. “Venmo is an all-the-time, every-day app,” Esch argued. In his view, people may not check their credit-card or banking apps on a daily basis to see their card balances or transaction histories, so the act of situating the Venmo credit card into the peer-to-peer app that users already check regularly could drive “engagement and awareness” about spending patterns. Ultimately, the Venmo card is “a big step forward” for PayPal as it aims to become a daily staple for more customers, said Esch, who sees room for Venmo to do more with financial management tools down the line. . . .

Why the Pandemic Is a ‘Black Swan’ That Will Spur Payments M&A
PYMNTS – October 2, 2020

The mergers and acquisitions, the deal-making, the funding and IPOs among payments players may be just getting started. In an interview with Karen Webster, Jim McCarthy, president at i2c, said that a great digital shift will spur tie-ups of all sorts — from partnerships to outright buyouts — as incumbents seek to move quickly to modernize their tech stacks. The conversation was the first in a multi-part series on the “race” that is bringing stakeholders in the payments processing, credit and financial services verticals together through a continuing spate of mergers, acquisitions and partnerships.

Despite — or perhaps because of — the pandemic, a number of strategic and financial deals are taking shape. Scan recent headlines and you’ll see that Equifax bought Ansonia Credit Data; Corsair Capital bought B2B payments solution provider MSTS, and OnDeck was bought out. Western Union has been public about its desire for acquisitions. Special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) have been all the rage, too. For example, over the summer, integrated payments and eCommerce technology provider Paya merged with  FinTech Acquisition Corp. to go public. The underlying theme, of course, is the realization that consumers increasingly want more control over (digital) payments (today, done in a more touchless manner) and have ever-higher and rising expectations, according to McCarthy. And companies must deliver — or risk being rendered obsolete. . . .

Plaid Unveils ‘All-New’ Plaid Link to Enhance Onboarding
PYMNTS – October 2, 2020

With a move that provides an easier and quicker onboarding experience, Plaid has introduced an “all-new” Plaid Link. Announcing the new link in a blog post on Friday (Oct. 2), the company said it is debuting an easier flow for returning users that could lessen the number of stages it takes them to link accounts. A person who has linked their financial accounts with the FinTech in the past has their financial institution displayed when he or she signs up for a new app (bypassing the institution select pane). The person is then provided with a “pre-filled flow” or it is requested that he or she prove their identity with a single-use password. “In total, this may reduce the number of steps required to connect their financial accounts,” according to the post.

Additionally, the company said it has shortened the loading time for each pane. As a result, the account connection experience for users is up to almost 30 percent quicker than in the past. The company has also bolstered the experience of choosing an institution by displaying those that are most relevant before the others depending on where a user is and which app he or she is utilizing. Furthermore, the company debuted a one-column grid that displays a financial institution’s name, website and logo. As a result, it is more probable that users will select the correct one. Plaid said it developed Plaid Link in 2015 to provide people new FinTech users with a simple and safe way to link to their financial accounts, making a “new industry standard.” . . .

General Motors’ Credit Card, Brought to You by Goldman Sachs
Wall Street Journal – October 1, 2020 (subscription required)

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. GS 0.68% is buying General Motors Co. GM 0.26% ’s credit-card business for about $2.5 billion, a deal that furthers the Wall Street giant’s push into Main Street lending. Goldman Sachs, a newcomer to the credit-card space, won the bidding over Barclays BCS 1.60% PLC, people familiar with the matter said, handing the Wall Street firm more than a million GM cardholders and their roughly $8.5 billion in annual spending. It is the second win in the credit-card sector for Goldman, which launched its first credit card last year with Apple Inc. and is on the hunt for other deals in co-branded cards. But it is barging in at a precarious moment: Banks deferred payments for millions of cardholders facing financial hardship from the coronavirus pandemic and have set aside billions of dollars to cover potential losses if the debt doesn’t get paid back.

The Wall Street Journal reported in August that Goldman and Barclays were rival bidders for the card, which is a relatively small fish with roughly $2.5 billion in outstanding balances but comes with a brand-name partner in GM and opportunities to turn cars into payment portals. Goldman and Capital One Financial Corp. COF 2.76% , which has issued GM’s card since 2012, have agreed on the outline of a deal, including the purchase price, the people said. They expect to finalize it in the coming weeks if it doesn’t fall apart. Goldman is likely to pay a slight premium for the debt and hope to make up any future losses by selling GM cardholders on its own products, which include online savings accounts, personal loans and investment products. Capital One still has about a year left on its contract. . . .

Six Months From Deadline, Large C-Store Chains Are Still Lagging on EMV at the Pump
Digital Transactions News – October 1, 2020

As the deadline inches closer for gas stations and convenience stores with fuel pumps to install in-pump EMV card readers, the good news is that c-stores are making steady progress. Overall, 31% of c-stores report not having any pump EMV-ready, down from 52% in the spring and 70% in 2019, according to a recent survey from Conexxus Inc., which develops technology standards for convenience stores and gas stations. The bad news is that while 61% of respondents expect to be 100% compliant in time for the April 2021 deadline set by the card networks, 39% don’t. A deep dive into the numbers reveals an even more troubling trend: c-store chains with more than 50 locations are the most likely candidates not to be 100% complaint at deadline. The biggest laggards are the largest chains with more than 500 locations and medium-size chains with between 51 and 200 locations.

Of the largest c-store chains, 33.3% say they currently have no working EMV readers at the pump, while 66.7% have installed EMV at less than 25% of their pumps. Among chains with 51 to 200 locations, 46% have installed EMV readers at less than 25% of their pumps and 23% have yet to install them. Hampering deployment among these two segments is that larger chains tend to work with multiple POS technology providers, which creates a hodge-podge of POS applications and hardware, says Linda Toth, managing director for Conexxus. “The myriad combination of equipment makes implementation more complex, because no one vendor can provide a single solution,” Toth says. “It seemed like the industry was starting to get a handle on the issue during the first quarter of 2020, but since Covid-19 there has been a pullback.” . . .


– By Kristian Soltes. For questions about this newsletter or its content, contact