Harness the Benefits of EMV for Your Car Wash

August 28, 2023

In the ever-evolving world of payment processing, car washers face the ongoing challenge of ensuring secure, fast and convenient transactions for their customers. EMV technology has emerged as a global standard for credit card transactions, offering smarter and more secure transactions.  

So, what is EMV? Why should you consider it for your car wash? We’ll answer those questions and let you know how you can get started with EMV. 

EMV 101 

EMV, short for Europay, Mastercard and Visa, is a revolutionary global standard for credit card transactions that has transformed the landscape of payment processing.  

In most developed economies, EMV has been the norm for years. In fact, between July 2021 and June 2022, 92% of all card-present transactions conducted globally used EMV Chip Technology. The United States has been one of the last to adopt it, but even still, EMV accounted for 84% of card-present transactions in the U.S. for the same period.  

EMV cards are equipped with a tiny, embedded microprocessor chip known as an embedded integrated circuit (IC) that stores encrypted data. Unlike traditional magnetic stripe cards that store static, read-only data, this dynamic chip can read and write card data. This allows it to generate a new, one-time code for each transaction. Because the data changes with each new transaction, EMV cards are harder to successfully counterfeit. This added layer of security enhances the overall integrity of credit card transactions and protects both merchants and consumers from various forms of fraud, including card-present counterfeit fraud. 

Why Switch? 

With that in mind, consumer data security is the main reason to switch to EMV. Magstripe cards present one of the biggest vulnerabilities in the industry. The static information on the magstripes can be decrypted by skimming devices and transmitted to an identity thief. They are also easier to counterfeit. 

The dynamic chip in EMV cards greatly reduces those risks, securely transmitting encrypted information to the payment processor. As consumers become increasingly conscious of the security of their transactions, accepting EMV payments demonstrates your commitment to safeguarding their data. This fosters trust and loyalty, helping you attract and retain customers. 

But heightened security isn’t the only thing EMV has to offer. Consider these other benefits of switching to EMV. 

Customer Convenience 

EMV opens the door to contactless cards and mobile wallets through Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, more commonly referred to as “tap-to-pay.” With this technology, consumers simply hold their chip-enabled card or phone near the reader instead of fumbling to insert a card into the reader. The U.S. is the global leader in NFC mobile payments with $4.4 billion in NFC mobile payments in 2022

Tap-to-pay by phone has become so popular that many consumers no longer carry physical cards.  

It’s important to note, however, that tap-to-pay payments can only be used for one-time purchases, like single washes. They can't be used to sign up for monthly subscription plans.  Customers will need to insert their chip card into the reader for those transactions.   

Avoid Liabilities and Fees 

Traditionally, issuers or payment processors absorbed the losses in cases of card-present fraud. However, the major credit networks have instituted a liability shift where merchants now bear the liability for fraudulent charges if they do not support EMV transactions. Having EMV can limit chargeback requests and help you be more successful in winning disputes when they do occur. 

Moreover, most major credit card processors have a non-EMV program. Merchants are put into these programs when 10% or more of their in-person transactions are swiped instead of chip-read. These programs vary in cost, with many adding 25-$50/month as well as an additional $0.10 - $0.20 per transaction.  

By only collecting and retaining the minimum EMV data needed, merchants can limit their PCI audit scope and reduce compliance costs, as well. The more secure EMV process makes merchants eligible for certain PCI compliance exceptions, incentives and ease of validation. 


As technology continues to advance, traditional magnetic stripe cards will become obsolete. Mastercard will stop issuing cards with magstripes in January 2024. Beginning in 2027, card issuers will no longer require banks to issue chip cards with magstripes, and by 2033, they plan to eliminate them entirely. This means that without an EMV reader, business owners simply may not be able to process all their customer’s cards when this shift occurs. 

By adopting EMV, merchants ensure compatibility with emerging payment technologies. This forward-thinking approach positions businesses for continued success in the dynamic world of payment processing. 

Get Started 

Switching to EMV for credit card processing is a prudent move for car wash operators looking to enhance security, gain customer trust and comply with evolving payment standards. If you are a DRB® customer, we can help you make the switch.  

Contact us to get started: 

DRB® In-Bay Solutions - InbayEMVUpgrades@DRB.com 

DRB® Tunnel Solutions - CCardSupport@drb.com 

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