Before speeding on upgrading bits and parts of your system for EMV, understand the total cost.
The recent implementation of EMV as of October 1, 2015 has many implications beyond just upgrading the MSR (magnetic strip reader) of the POS system. The age of the POS hardware and operating system also play an important role Here are some points:
- Most POS systems before 2015 are running on Windows XP or similar operating system (OS). Older operating systems such as XP are no longer PCI compliant or EMV compatible. So an OS upgrade is needed. Remember that OS upgrades are not like software upgrades. Typically it will require the installation of the new OS and then the reinstallation of the programs. This cannot be done simply remotely. In most cases the new OS is installed and sent on a new hard drive, so the cost of new hard drive and OS must be taken into consideration.
- Merchant accounts that are integrated into POS systems will likely require an upgrade to the POS software to be EMV compliant. Given the continuous advancements in POS software, older POS hardware may not be able to accommodate the new software needs. It is similar to trying to install a 2015 graphic intensive video game on a 2012 computer. Most likely, the older system will not be able to keep up.
- POS systems have a natural life cycle and warranty period of maximum 36 months, so before spending money upgrading your current system, consider the age of your system and total cost. If the POS system is approaching 36 months by October 1, 2015 it should be considered for replacement since the systems is near the end of its life cycle based on warranty. In 48 months, most POS systems have seen over 20,000 hours of usage and about 35,000 hours of on time. Given the various components of POS systems including touch screens, older systems naturally need replacement.
You can upgrade the OS (about $400 per terminal) and potentially POS components (RAM, processors, etc), but if your POS is around 3 or more years old, it will be much more cost effective to change the terminals since new terminals 1) come with new OS, 2) better hardware, 3) can accommodate the new software, and 4) have up to 3 years of warranty.
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