Tis the season to be stormy…

 Tis the season to be stormy…

With the fall season upon us, so comes the inclement weather. This month has been a reminder of just how volatile these storms can and just what kind of havoc power issues can wreck on a business.

Why are proper system shutdowns important?

While using the proper system shutdown commands during power events, or when otherwise required, may seem to be Computer 101 level procedures to some, to others, especially the untrained it is not.

Based on my experience, this seems to be a bigger issue with retailers than any other group. The core issues seem to reside primarily in the following four areas:

1. Lack of written plans and/or procedures for shutting-down and restarting servers and POS systems.

2. Lack of a training program for employees working in the stores, so that they know what to do when the power goes out.

3. High employee turnover. – New staffers are either not familiar with the system, and who have little or no training.

4. Insufficient security authorizations – some of the staff at the store have a level of security access that does not allow them to login to the server and properly shut it down.

What happens when equipment is not shutdown properly?

When an application server or POS workstation is shutdown improperly, very serious issues can result, such as:

  • Loss of active unsaved data. – This might mean incomplete, and un-editable tickets, or orders.
  • Critical damage to application databases that can require having to restore data from backups.
  • Damage to the operating system, which might require having to restore part of it or having to go as far as restaging the entire computer. This would be especially true if a downloaded Windows Security Service Pack was to schedule to be installed on the next system shutdown, as it could cause the update to fail to be properly applied.
  • Physical damage to critical components in the computer, such as the hard drive, motherboard, memory, required the machines) to be down for an extended period of time Proper Power Protection

One common oversight regarding computer installations is not having proper power protection for the systems. Normally, one should have UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) battery backups that are adequate to protect your Servers and PC’s, as well associated hardware such as modems, network switches, etc. CCS also recommends this for both new and existing systems.

Most current UPS systems allow for line conditioning, surge and brownout protection, as well as automated Server/PC shutdown capability (in the event of a complete power failure). One historical example of this involved the following:

With a new system purchase, where the customer opted not to purchase a UPS for the primary CP SQL application server. This was mainly over budgetary concerns. During a particularly bad seasonal winter storm, they were having both erratic power fluctuations combined with complete outages for extended periods of time. The staff chose to leave the server running during this time period. At one point, the power went out several times while the server was powered up, causing the server to crash and then reboot repetitively. These events resulted in damage to some critical operating system files. The resulting support work required to recover the damage was almost equal to the cost of the originally quoted UPS.

Being a firm believer in this technology, I also have my home Computer, Monitor, External Hard Drive, DSL Modem, Alarm System, and Telephones protected.

Recommended Power Protection Updates

One common oversight regarding computer installations is not maintaining power protection for a network, location servers or registers/PC’s. The following are some often neglected things.

  1. Old and Damaged Power Strips.

Often while on-site at various companies, I find power strips that have no power or surge protection. Often there are many that have surge protection, however, the surge protection components have failed. The normal indicator of a damaged power strip is that the rocker switch light and/or the surge light is flickering off and on or burnt out completely.

  1. UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) maintenance.

Under normal circumstances the battery in a UPS battery backup needs to be replaced every 3 – 4 years. Failure to do this can result in systems crashing because the battery won’t hold a charge or the battery drains before the machine can be properly shutdown (in wither automated or manual fashion).

Despite its design and intended use, a UPS is not damage proof. Since it is an electronic device under heavy usage or extreme power events, it can sustain damage or fail completely.

I have seen some instances of where the UPS charging circuit has been damaged causing the UPS to overcharge the battery, both damaging the battery, and causing the unit to overheat. A common indicator of this is the UPS is extremely hot to the touch (enough to warm coffee, a pastry or burn you). This is also a fire hazard, so this situation could be putting much more than just your computer at risk.

Also, If PC’s and peripherals have recently been replaced, the older UPS may not be adequate for the job because it doesn’t have the proper wattage and amp rating to support the new equipment.

An example of this: A user had a PC connected to and older 180 Watt/230 VA UPS, and the new equipment that was installed used a combined total of 500 Watts. When the power to the UPS was disconnected, the UPS couldn’t handle the load, and immediately terminated the power before anything could be shutdown, resulting in damage to both data and the operating system.

While you can purchase a UPS for a relatively nominal fee, cheaper retail UPS units are inadequate for the job of protecting most business systems. Most new business class “Smart” UPS systems allow for line conditioning AVR (Automated Voltage Regulation), surge and brownout protection, as well as automated Server/PC shutdown capability (in the event of a complete power failure). This takes the burden of doing this away from your staff, and ensures that equipment is properly shut-down

With the fall storm season already upon us, right now is the best time to address these issues before they become critical. CCS can evaluate your needs, make recommendations, and make sure that the proper equipment is both ordered and properly installed. Please call the CCS Retail Systems Support Department to schedule your power review.

– John

6 top reasons for using bLoyal as a Customer Relationship Management tool.

 

6 top reasons for using bLoyal as a Customer Relationship Management tool.

bLoyal adds an extension to what NCR Counterpoint standardly offers for loyalty programs.

1. Offers and Promotions

Loyalty Offers and Promotions

Offers and promotions enhance your loyalty reward programs by offering short-term values that generate immediate sales and complement long-term loyalty member rewards. Offers and promotions work to your advantage in many ways. They provoke interest in new products, give members an opportunity to try something different, provide added value to your customers to help encourage loyalty, and ultimately generate more revenue for your business. bLoyal’s loyalty system gives you endless opportunities for offering sales and promotions to members and member segments.

Offers and Promotions from bLoyal allow you to go beyond the old style punch card by introducing exclusive loyalty program member benefits, scaled to help meet your specific needs and goals.

  • Gift Card Sales Promotions

Gift card marketing and promotions give you multiple opportunities to gain return customers and repeat sales.

As an example: If you offer a $5 gift card with a purchase of $25 or more, there’s an excellent chance that customer will either return to use the gift card or give it to someone else. Either way, statistically, there’s a 68% chance that the returning shopper will spend significantly more than the $5 offered.

Also, since bLoyal gift cards are loyalty enabled, every gift card can become a loyalty card, creating a new opportunity for building customer relationships.

  • Buy One Get One Loyalty Promotions

By one get one (BOGO) loyalty promotions are easy to configure within the bLoyal system, and despite the name, you aren’t limited in what you can offer. Buy-one-get-one promotions can span multiple product categories and use any combination of qualifiers and quantity pairings.

For example,

offer a buy two get one 50% off, promotion, or buy three and get bonus loyalty points.

With bLoyal’s loyalty system, the combinations are limitless and give you opportunities to create unique offers.

  • Coupon Loyalty Offers

Digital and print coupons significantly influence customer loyalty, sales, and word-of-mouth marketing. Customers are much more likely to be loyal to a business that provides coupons and more willing to tell friends about that business, however, the coupons need to be relevant to the consumer. bLoyal combines the power of loyalty member segmentation with targeted coupon creation and distribution, so you can create exclusive coupon loyalty offers for your members and distribute them through bLoyal built-in outbound marketing tools, or post shareable, viral coupons across your social media accounts.

2. Frequent Buyer Programs

  • Frequent Buyer Programs with bLoyal’s Loyalty Software

The following feature would be in addition to or instead of anything that you might currently be doing through NCR Counterpoint.

Building loyalty with frequent buyer programs provides a great way to reward customers for shopping with you often, or for choosing specific products or manufacturers regularly. bLoyal’s loyalty system lets you configure any frequent buyer rewards that you want, in real-time or for any other reason. With flexible points, coupons, and recurring purchase benefits, you can configure custom programs that provide value to your members instantly while encouraging more return visits.

  • Frequent Buyer Loyalty Reward Points

Rewarding your customers doesn’t mean you need to give them discounts every single time they shop. Establishing a point’s reward system provides incentives that add up over time, so your members know that once they reach a certain level of point’s rewards, they can redeem those points for a valuable rewards experience. You can set thresholds to reward customers for a certain number of visits, spending a set amount of money over time or within a limited period, or award bonus points for specific products or categories. The options are truly limitless.

Frequent buyer programs from bLoyal were designed so that you can reward loyal customers for what you want, when you want, how you want.

  • Dollar Amount or Cash Back Loyalty Rewards

Launching frequent buyer programs that are based on dollar amounts are effective at increasing both short and long-term customer spending. For example, you can offer $10 back on purchases of $150 or more, and provide a dollar reward amount on a gift card, or offer a coupon with a time limit. Dollar loyalty programs sometimes offer shipping credits based on spending caps, dollar amount discounts on future purchases, and more.

  • Award Programs with Tiers

Offering tiered loyalty rewards programs gives your members goal-based incentives to shop more often. Tiered programs can be implemented based on the number of visits, point value, or how much a customer spends during a period. Each rewards program

tier offers new benefits and rewards, with incentives to either maintain that loyalty tier, or reach it again after the related rewards have been redeemed.

  • Electronic Punch Card Loyalty

Electronic punch cards are a simple way to award members for frequent visits, purchasing a particular product, or choosing items from a certain manufacturer repeatedly. Digital loyalty punch cards can be configured in multiple ways and activated through many member check-in options from point of sale devices to mobile phones or loyalty gift cards.

  • Segmented Frequent Buyer Programs

One of the most powerful features of bLoyal’s loyalty software is the ability to segment loyalty members based on anything you want and reward customers based on where they are in the buyer’s journey as an individual. This level of targeting is powerful and personal, and with bLoyal you can offer targeted frequent buyer programs to different market segments based on

their interests, demographics, preferred store, or custom channels.

Frequent buyer rewards programs configured through bLoyal’s loyalty software are completely customizable to reach your customers in personal ways to create stronger, longer lasting relationships and boost the lifetime value of your members.

3. Outbound Marketing

Engage program members with the outbound marketing tools that are built right into the bLoyal system. You don’t need a separate, third-party system to send out exclusive offers through email, text, social blasts or remarketing campaigns. Segmented lists and categories keep your member contacts organized, so you can send targeted promotions to users based on their demographics, behaviors, and preferences without the hassle of managing separate mailing databases.

  • Loyalty Marketing with Email

Bulk emailing within bLoyal is simple. You can create newsletters with custom branded templates and send them to member groups or all members. Send event announcements, promotional campaigns, exclusive member content, surveys, and easily track engagements from

and promotions based on real engagement metrics.

  • Text Message Marketing

Schedule promotional announcements, coupons, event invitations, and more to reach your members anywhere through text message marketing. Members can opt-in or out at any time, and you can personalize messages for each user. Text message loyalty marketing is an excellent way to grow your audience, and it’s all possible in the bLoyal system without leaving your loyalty dashboard.

4. Remarketing with bLoyal

Remarketing helps you increase average order value and frequency by targeting loyalty program members based on their purchase history and other trackable loyalty program behaviors. Create remarketing campaigns by downloading segmented customer lists from bLoyal and

adding this data as a ‘custom audience’ on your next campaign.

  • Loyalty Rewards and Outbound Marketing

bLoyal offers a single platform for managing all of your outbound marketing and loyalty program efforts from one location. Engagements are linked to each member’s profile in our 360 CRM, as well as our reporting system, so you can view loyalty program engagement history

and evaluate the effectiveness of your targeting.

5. Segmentation

Marketing and Loyalty Segmentation

Member segmentation is a fundamental part of every loyalty rewards program and outbound marketing campaign. bLoyal’s built-in options give you the power to deliver the right rewards to the right customers at the right time. bLoyal provides static, dynamic , and SKU level dynamic segmentation options to help you make sure your engagements are on target and truly relevant to each of your members.

Members can be added to segmented loyalty lists automatically during sign-up, based on their demographics or where and how they signed-up, as well as being able to opt into segments online. Managers can create segmented loyalty lists manually, or lists can be automatically populated based on user behaviors and more.

Valuing your customer’s time is key to building a successful loyalty program. Marketing segmentation from bLoyal allows you to send the right message to the right customer’s at the right time.

  • Static Segmentation

Static segmentation is simple and intuitive within the bLoyal system. Mailing list managers can create member lists based on any criteria, directly within the system and use bLoyal’s outbound marketing tools to send out targeted sales, promotions, announcements, and more. Once created, managers can make changes to static lists manually. Static lists are useful for running short-term campaigns or sending engagement announcements that only apply to a very particular group of people.

  • Dynamic Segmentation

Dynamic marketing segmentation is an automated grouping of members based on any combination of behaviors and/or demographics.

For example, you can configure bLoyal to add every member of a particular demographic who has shopped at a specific store location to a precisely targeted mailing list. Customer history can be automated based on order history, purchase history, and even purchase of an individual product.

  • SKU Level Dynamic Segmentation

Product or SKU level segmentation is a highly targeted way to reach members based on their past purchases. bLoyal can automatically group customers that buy a particular product or brand into a list that you can use for precision marketing and promotions.

Highly Targeted Loyalty Solutions

With bLoyal’s loyalty and rewards system, customer partitioning is easy. Our solution allows you to create outbound marketing campaigns that will activate and engage your loyalty program members based on products they’re really interested in. You’ll also have access to analytics based on the member segments you provide, so you can quickly report on results and make adjustments as often as you need.

If you’re looking for a powerful loyal marketing solution for your business, call CCS to schedule a demonstration and learn more about bLoyal’s powerful features.

For more information on the above, please contact the CCS Retail Systems, Inc. Sales department (sales) or 1-800-672-4806.

– John

Passport Payroll ACA Reporting Requirement for 2017/2018 Years

 

Passport Payroll ACA Reporting Requirement for 2017/2018 Years

Currently, ACA Reporting is Still Mandatory

With all the confusion regarding the Affordable Care Act not resolved it is important that your Human Resources Department and/or Payroll Departments understand that the ACA Employer mandate and the requirement to report is still the law.

If you are required to file you can save lots of money by avoiding IRS penalties. This is likely to be a bigger issue this year because the IRS is working hard to identify employers who have either not filed or who at least made a failed attempted to report.

How do you fit in?

First identify your specific situation:

If your company has expanded and has hit the 50+ employee threshold, reporting is required.

While this may be new to you, Passport can help even if you don’t currently use the Passport Payroll Software.

Passport provides a fee based service to assist you with your ACA reporting requirements.

This would be handy if you need to report this year for the first time or if you are unhappy withhow this was handled for last year’s reporting process.

Passport’s Software has the best ACA solution on the market for ACA compliance reporting, including all the electronic reporting. Check them out at Capterra Reviews. They have been helping hundreds of companies meet their reporting obligations since 2015.

Passport offers everything from a one-time software license fee if you wish to run your ACA reports in-house, through to a complete turnkey service with Passport filing all your reports for you… and all of this at a very affordable cost, which is much less than the penalties the IRS is likely to impose for failing to report and/or failing to report on-time Filing deadline reminders:

Standard ACA filing deadlines apply for Tax Year 2017. Unlike in previous years, there are no automatic extensions for late filing this year.

  • Employee 1095-C copies January 31st, 2018
  • 1095-C/1094-C paper filing February 28th, 2018
  • 1095-C/1094-C electronic filing March 31st, 2018

With the deadline for employee copies not being extended as it was in 2017, this means all 2017 ACA data needs to be completed and accurate by the end of January 2018.

For more information please contact the CCS Retail Systems Sales Department.

-John

PBS Version 12.05 – Some good reasons to upgrade

 

PBS Version 12.05 – Some good reasons to upgrade

Some of the most notable enhancements in Passport 12.05 are:

  • Major field expansions in AP and PR
  • Passport POS users – you will also see enhancements to credit card processing covering tokenization,
  • Payroll – Emailing of employee pay-stubs and direct deposit remittances to employees.
  • A PBS Mobile App.
  • Inventory Control graphical screens.
  • PBS Manufacturing enhancements.
  • PBS Query Builder.
  • Additional modules are in the works, which includes new entry screens, look-ups, form printing and reports!

PBS Version 12.05 is available for all customers who are PUP-current with a PUP expiration license that is dated beyond June 1, 2017. PBS Version 12.05 requires a fresh install, a data conversion process, as well as a new XDBC data catalog download. You can contact the CCS Support department (support) in order to schedule this.

Coming Soon:

CashPoint™ Version 12.05 interface to NCR Counterpoint v.8.5.2 and then 8.5.3.

TimeClick – allowing the import of employee hours worked data directly into the PBS Payroll Time Worked file,

eliminating the need for the PBS Data Import module. PBS v.12.05 Unix/Linux version.

Both Passport and CCS will update you on the availability of the above features.

Passport™ Query Builder Arrives

Powerful reporting is here! Passport Query Builder, Passports newest 12.05 add-on module, allows access to ALL PBS files for creating customized reports.

Passport Query Builder is a replacement for the older PDQ Query Function (which is no longer available in Passport as of version 12.05. Query Builder requires that MSSQL Server (or MSSSQL Server Express), MS SQL SSRS

(SQL Report Writer), and AcuXDBC be installed.

For PBS Vision 12.05 customers, the Query Builder is limited to a single workstation, with MS SQL Express, SSRS and AcuXDBC all required. For this reason we highly recommend that Vision users migrate to PBS SQL, allowing you to move to newer technology and simply purchase Query Builder for one or more seats.

Currently, PBS users who move up to PBS SQL will receive a free single-user license for the Query Builder.

Please note:

Query Builder is coming soon for Unix/Linux installations.

Query Builder for Cashpoint will be available when Cashpoint 12.05 is available.

Currently, more testing is occurring with Query Builder on Thin Client.

If you have any questions about the above. please contact the CCS Support Department.

– John

Passport 2015 Year End Updates

Passport 2015 Year End Updates

The following updates are available for Passport 12.02 through 12.04 Users.

PBS v12.04.01 Year-End Updates

The v12.04.01 update is now available for Passport 12.04 users. The update includes changes to Payroll and Accounts Payable.

Payroll

The update includes these modifications:

• Regulation changes to Payroll W-2 reporting.
• New Payroll year-end W-2 graphical screens.
• A new Monthly Labor Summary report has been added which helps you determine your need for tracking Affordable Care Act data by reporting the total number of full-time equivalent employees.
• Changes to field requirements for Payroll Jurisdictions.
• Download link for the Payroll W-2 Magnetic media AccuWage utility.

Accounts Payable

You can now print the 1096 Annual Summary and Transmittal of U.S. Information Returns form.


PBS v12.03.04 Year-end Update

The v12.03.04 update is now available for Passport 12.03 users. The update includes changes to Payroll and Accounts Payable.

The update includes these modifications:

• Regulation changes to Payroll W-2 reporting.
• A new Monthly Labor Summary report has been added which helps you determine your need for tracking  Affordable Care Act data by reporting the total number of full-time equivalent employees.
• Changes to field requirements for Payroll Jurisdictions.
• Download link for the Payroll W-2 Magnetic media AccuWage utility.

Accounts Payable

The update includes the addition of printing the 1096 Annual Summary and Transmittal of U.S. Information  Returns form.


PBS V12.02.06

The v12.02.06 update is now available for Passport 12.02 users. The update includes changes to Payroll.
 

Payroll

• There are Regulation changes to Payroll W-2 reporting.
• Download link for the Payroll W-2 Magnetic media AccuWage utility


Depending on your installed Server and Workstation environments, there may be compatibly issues with each of the above referenced versions.  Please contact the
CCS Retail Systems Support Department for more details on this topic.

– John

Payroll ACA reporting requirements for 2016

Payroll ACA reporting requirements for 2016

Shortly Passport will have the following optional Passport updates available for 2016:

ACA Essentials Edition – For single companies with up to 249 FTE employees all under one PBS company. Prints  the 1094-C and 1095-C federal forms and includes management reports.

ACA Corporate Edition – For single (FEIN) companies with 250 or more employees under one or more PBS companies.  Handles printing and mandatory electronic filing of 1094-C and 1095-C federal forms.Includes management  reports.

ACA Enterprise Edition – For multiple companies (multiple FEINs) with common company ownership and consolidated ALE (Applicable large Employer) group reporting. Handles printing and mandatory electronic filing of 1094-C and 1095-C Federal forms. Includes management reports.

ACA Accounting and Payroll Service Providers – For Accounting firms and Payroll Service Providers who assist clients with their accounting and end of year State and Federal reporting requirements.Handles single or multi-company requirements, printing and electronic filing of 1094-C and 1095-C federal forms and includes management reports.

Passport’s ACA Management Reports include:

• 1095-C Federal forms required for each insurance-eligible employee.
• 1094-C Authoritative transmittal summary for a company or ALE (Applicable Large Employer) Group.
• ALE Calculation Report – Determine if a company is subject to ACA regulations.
• Standard Measurement Period Report – Monitor current employees and adjust schedules accordingly.
• Initial Measurement Period Report – Monitor part time employees hired between Standard Measurement Periods and manage schedules accordingly.
• ACA Insurance Report – Review insurance affordability and employee/employer contributions.
• ACA Safe Harbor Comparison – Compare measurement methods used for determining affordability.
• Eligibility and Offers of Insurance Coverage – An audit report to help ensure compliance.

Passport is producing several products to address the ACA requirements.

The first product for ACA management and reporting will be an "add-on" eo their PUP current PBS (version 12.03 and 12.04 only) Payroll users and will fully integrate with the PBS Payroll module.

The next product released will be a stand-alone version for folks who do not use PBS Payroll but use  some other Payroll product or payroll service.

Passport’s ACA Management and Reporting Solution will be able to utilize the TimeClick time clock  software data files to produce management reporting to assist with the classification of employees  as FT or PT (full time/part time) and other reports. We suggest that non- PBS Payroll users consider
 TimeClick time clock software as it feeds the timekeeping data to our stand-alone ACA reporting version.     

The ACA Management and Reporting Solution will be available end of December  for Windows, Linux and SQL  environments. Contact the CCS Retail sales Department for pricing on the updates.

The Passport ACA info page is available from passports home page website on the lower left of the  page. That button takes visitors to this  ACA Information Page.   

For more information, please visit Affordable Care Act Tax Provisions for Employers.

1095-C and 1095-C forms are available from Trainor Business Forms – 800-356-7925

– John

Error – Failed to export the report.

Saving or Exporting an NCR Counterpoint report to PDF  fails with the error "Failed to export the report."

There is a recent known issue where NCR Counterpoint users who could previously email Crystal Report Reports as PDF’s, suddenly no longer have the ability to do so.

The error message received is "Cannot export the report".

The specific issue was related to the following:

The recent Windows optional update 3102429, released on 11/16/2015 which adds support in Windows for Azerbaijani Manat and Georgian Lari currency symbols and causes an error when exporting reports to  PDF from NCR Counterpoint.  This Windows Hotfix also prevents email receipts from being  successfully sent, although no error message is displayed to the operator.
 
Workaround:  Uninstall – Update for Microsoft Windows (KB3102429) –  and reboot affected  server or workstations where the patch was installed, and uncheck and hide the windows update.
 
*Note: this Update may not  be listed in ‘View Update History’.  To search for the Update,  go to Control Panel – Programs and features – View Installed Updates  (path may vary by Operating System).  All servers and workstations that run NCR Counterpoint should be checked for this update. 

If you have questions or need assistance with the above work, please call the CCS Retail Systems Support Department.

– John

Preparing for Affordable Care Act (ACA)Reporting

Preparing for Affordable Care Act (ACA)Reporting

There are some simple things Passport Payroll customers can do to prepare for Affordable Care Act reporting  as follows:

1.  Make sure every one of your employee records contains a hire date.
2.  For terminated employees, ensure there is a termination date in their record.
3.  Make sure every employee has a social security number in their record.

Passport has will have soon have a comprehensive ACA solution to help you manage your workforce  and comply with the ACA rules.

Not sure if your company has become large enough to be subject to the Affordable Care Act requirements?

Here’s are some tips from the Affordable Care Act Questions and Answers page from the IRS website:

  • An employer determines if it is subject to these provisions for a current year by counting how many
     full-time employees and full-time equivalents it employed during the prior calendar year.
  • For each month of the prior year, the employer counts its employees working an average of
     30 or more hours per week as full-time employees and, if it has employees working less than that,
     adds the number of full-time equivalents (determined by simply adding up the hours that are worked
     by these less-than-full-time employees for the month, but no more than 120 hours per employee, and
     then dividing by 120).

The resulting totals from the above for each month in the prior year are added together and then divided  by 12 to get an average for the prior year. If the result is less than 50, the employer is not subject to these rules for the current year and may need not take any other action.

(If the result is 50 or more with some of the employees being seasonal workers, certain adjustments may still bring the average down to less than 50.)

More information is available on the IRS website.

CCS will keep you updated on future changes and when pricing for the update becomes available.

Additionally, you can contact CCS Retails Systems for additional assistance.

– John

EMV Chip/Pin Update – 09/23/2015

EMV Chip/Pin Update – 09/23/2015

EMV (Europay, MasterCard, Visa) is the standard for electronic payment cards with a smart  card processor embedded in the card.  Among it’s features are:

  • Card holder data and payment application are stored on the processors system.
  • PIN based or Signature based security.
  • Requires EMV Card Reading Hardware.
  • Credit Card remains in an EMV reader for the entire duration of the a payment transaction.

What are the Benefits of EMV?

  • Because of the smart card processor embedded in the payment card, and the hardware  required to read the card, creation of fraudulent cards is much less likely than with other  card types.
  • PIN based implementations have a far less likelihood of being fraudulent.
  • Has about the same speed as a Pin Debit Card.
  • Consumer retains possession of the card at all times.

What are the limitations of EMV?

  • It does not encrypt personal account data, so it will be up to each POS provider and/or EMV device  manufacturer to come up with standards for encryption and retention.

What is the current status of the EMV roll-out in the U.S.?

As of the end of the first quarter of 2015, many financial institutions are starting to  mail out the new EMV cards to their customer base.

With the industry goal currently being that all Retail merchants should be able to start supporting the full feature use of EMV Chip/Pin cards there is some rush to both compliant hardware and  software in place on time.  However, this demand has created some backlogs on getting compliant Pin Pads ordered and installed.  This means that if you want this equipment in place by the last  quarter of 2015, you need to be placing your equipment orders in now.

Another fundamental issue here is that as a group, hardware vendors, software companies, banks, and  credit card processors are not yet ready to roll-out the complete EMV solution.  At this time it expected that the full solution will not be ready until the end of the last quarter  or 2015, or sometime in the first quarter of 2016.  So at this point, we don’t expect most merchants  to be in a position to make the switch until January of 2016 at the earliest.

What does this mean for Counterpoint installations?

One of the requirements to take advantage of the EMV capabilities inherent in the Ingenico iSC250 is a Retail Base Application (RBA) firmware version which requires and upgrade to v14.0.6.

Regardless of a merchant’s plans to use EMV, if the latest updated NCR Counterpoint Service Pack (8.4.6.13) is installed, it will require that all existing iSC250 devices be updated to v14.0.6 firmware. This  applies to all devices in the field. At the time that this is done, a software configuration change from using the "Legacy Device Framework" to the "New Device Framework" for Pin Pads. 
 
This applies to all merchants, whether they process cards through CPGateway or NCR Secure Pay and regardless of whether of not the merchant plans to enable the use of the EMV feature.

If the firmware update is not done prior to the service pack update, the device will not be operable  in NCR Counterpoint until the firmware update is completed. It is strongly suggested the devices be  updated and verified to work for both Credit Cards and Debit Cards (if applicable) prior to upgrading to the  most recent update of the 8.4.6.13 Service Pack.

If using P2PE encryption, verify on the NCR Secure Pay Settlement portal that  transactions show ‘Yes’  in the “P2PE?” column after the firmware is updated on the device, and before updating the Service Pack.

The steps are different for P2PE and non-P2PE devices, so it needs to be confirmed if the device is  P2PE or not prior to upgrading the firmware.  Running the wrong updated procedure could permanently  damage the unit and may require an RMA.

Please contact the CCS Sales Department for more detailed information on the above process.

 

EMV Chip/Pin Update – 08/25/2015

EMV Chip/Pin Update – 08/25/2015

EMV (Europay, MasterCard, Visa) is the standard for electronic payment cards with a smart card processor embedded in the card.  Among it’s features are:

  • Card holder data and payment application are stored on the processors system.
  • PIN based or Signature based security.
  • Requires EMV Card Reading Hardware.
  • Credit Card remains in an EMV reader for the entire duration of the a payment transaction.

What are the Benefits of EMV?

  • Because of the smart card processor embedded in the payment card, and the hardware required to read the card, creation of fraudulent cards is much less likely than with other card types.
  • PIN based implementations have a far less likelihood of being fraudulent.
  • Has about the same speed as a Pin Debit Card.
  • Consumer retains possession of the card at all times.

What are the limitations of EMV?

  • Does not encrypt personal account data, so it will be up to each POS provider and/or EMV device  manufacturer to come up with standards for encryption and retention.

What is the current status of the EMV roll-out in the U.S.?

As of the end of the first quarter of 2015, many financial institutions are starting to  mail out the new EMV cards to their customer base.

With the industry goal currently being that all Retail merchants should be able to start supporting the full feature use of EMV Chip/Pin cards there is some rush to both compliant hardware and  software in place on time.  However, this demand has created some backlogs on getting compliant Pin Pads ordered and installed.  This means that if you want this equipment in place by the last  quarter of 2015, you need to be placing your equipment orders in now.

What does this mean for NCR Counterpoint installations?

  • One of the requirements to take advantage of the EMV capabilities inherent in the Ingenico iSC250is a Retail Base Application (RBA) firmware version which requires and upgrade to v14.0.6.
  • Regardless of a merchant’s plans to use EMV, if the upcoming NCR Counterpoint Service Pack (8.4.6.13) is installed, it will require that all existing iSC250 devices be updated to v14.0.6 firmware. This  applies to all devices in the field. At the time that this is done, a software configuration change from using the "Lacy Device Framework" to the "New Device Framework". 
  • This applies to all merchants, whether they process cards through CPGateway or NCR Secure Pay and regardless of whether of not the merchant plans to enable the use of the EMV feature.
  • If the firmware update is not done prior to the service pack update, the device will not be operable  in NCR Counterpoint until the firmware update is completed. It is strongly suggested the devices be updated and verified to work for both Credit Cards and Debit Cards (if applicable) prior to upgrading to the 8.4.6.13 Service Pack.
  • If using P2PE encryption, verify on the NCR Secure Pay Settlement portal that  transactions show ‘Yes’ in the “P2PE?” column after the firmware is updated on the device, and before  updating the Service Pack.
  • The steps are different for P2PE and non-P2PE devices, so it needs to be confirmed if the device is  P2PE or not prior to upgrading the firmware.  Running the wrong updated procedure could permanently  damage the unit and may require an RMA.

Please contact the CCS Sales Department for more detailed information on the above process.

– John