Jaspar Casey - 2 March 2021
If you’re a gas station owner or operator, April 17, 2021 is probably already marked on your calendar. This is the date that liability shifts from card companies to gas stations for fraudulent payments at the pump. Merchants who are happy to miss out on the estimated $450 million in counterfeit fraud — an average of over $200,000 per store every year — should read on.
Automated fuel dispensers: an easy target
The addition of that little gold chip onto debit and credit cards was the biggest change to payment cards in decades. Chances are, all of your payment cards are now smart and EMV enabled, with EMV paying homage to the founders of the standard (Europay, Mastercard, and Visa). EMV cards offer enhanced security, which reduces the likelihood of counterfeit fraud from card skimming devices.
Automated fuel dispensers (AFDs) are an ideal target for fraudsters, because they are often unsupervised and can be located far away from watchful employees. Card skimming devices installed on AFDs will read the magnetic strip data from payment cards, allowing criminals to essentially duplicate people’s cards without their knowledge.
Fraudsters target the weakest link
Because EMV cards offer enhanced security, the major card companies have decided that, as of April 17, 2021, the weakest link in the chain should carry the liability when fraud happens. Therefore, gas stations whose AFDs can’t read EMV cards will be left holding the bag on any counterfeit fraud.
While a majority of gas stations have already upgraded their AFDs to read chip and pin cards, this creates a problem for those left behind. As the pool of non-EMV gas stations shrinks, the risk to these stations rises, as criminals are left with fewer locations to target.
The importance of testing
As gas stations upgrade their AFDs to accommodate this liability shift, it can create issues for peripheral systems. These payment terminals need to seamlessly integrate with existing point of sale (POS) systems, loyalty schemes, payment networks, and potentially many other systems. Due to the diversity of these technologies, testing such systems is often a highly manual process. However, some innovative companies have looked to test automation to address this issue.
One of the biggest supermarket companies in the US has been working with Keysight’s Eggplant division to drive a more frictionless retail experience. By using the Eggplant software suite to automate the testing of POS integrations with bank systems and AFDs, they have cut their testing window from ten days to less than 48 hours. Because Eggplant’s intelligent test automation can test any software on any system, they are able to ensure enduring compliance and smooth operation even in the face of continuous software and hardware updates. And since Eggplant can test systems without being directly installed on those systems, security concerns are neatly avoided.