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QIR Qualification – what dealers need to know

 PCI QIR Program

QIR Qualification is about to impact every POS provider in the US. Resellers should understand the requirements and be ready to put a plan in place to get certified/listed before January 2017.

What is QIR Qualification?

QIR (Qualified Integrator & Reseller) qualification is a set of requirements put in place by Visa for acquirers in an effort to ensure that small merchants are able to implement and maintain a secure Point of Sale environment. QIR qualification provides an opportunity for POS Providers (both VARs and ISVs) to receive training and subsequent qualification on the secure installation of PA-DSS validated payment applications into merchant environments so that said merchants can maintain ongoing PCI compliance. Many data breaches from past years could have been avoided if not for incorrect installation/maintenance of payment application and on-site merchant networks, so QIR qualification was implemented to ensure that only skilled/trained installers are installing payments products.

What does this mean to me as a POS Provider?

Any entity that installs Point of Sale in conjunction with a payment application must put at least one representative through the QIR training/qualification process. QIR has been around for some time, but until now, there have been no requirements for merchants to use a QIR qualified installer. In 2017, this will change.

While this may initially seem like a burden for POS providers, the reality is that this requirement is likely one of the best things to happen to the channel in a long time. By mandating that a QIR qualified representative handle payments installs, Visa is essentially forcing small merchants to utilize dealers for Point of Sale installation and on-going service, which leads to more customers and additional revenue for qualified dealers – which of course translates to higher quality installations for said merchants.  Long story short, get QIR certified and start reaping the benefits.

What’s the timeframe?

March 31st 2016: Acquirers must communicate to all level 4 merchants that beginning 31 January 2017, they must use only Payment Card Industry (PCI)-certified Qualified Integrators and Reseller (QIR) professionals for point-of-sale (POS) application and terminal installation and integration. 

January 31st 2017: Acquirers must ensure that level 4 merchants using third parties for POS application and terminal installation and integration engage only PCI QIR professionals.

What’s my next step?

QIR qualification is a mandate that’s been pushed back since Visa’s initial announcement, but is still fast-approaching, so POS providers will need to go through the process to get themselves listed on the QIR Companies List on the PCI SSC website in order to remain relevant – the sooner the better.

Fortunately, the RSPA (Retail Solutions Providers Association), along with other organizations, are offering discounted QIR qualification programs for VARs/ISVs. The $75 discounted fee from RSPA is now available to RSPA members until February 29, 2016 (a month extension over the initial program deadline). To enroll in the discounted course through the RSPA, follow the steps below.

  1. Click HERE
  2. Follow the steps to register at the company level and the individual level
  3. Use promo code RSPA75 in the pricing section

Applicants will complete a seven hour eLearning course and once completed will sit for the exam at one of the Pearson Vue testing centers located across the country.

To review the recently updated PCI-QIR requirements and agreement, please click here.

If you would like more information on any of the certifications available through RSPA’s recently expanded Professional Development program, click here

Want to talk more about QIR?