This October, the United States will be joining many other countries in the world who have made the change to EMV chip technology to protect consumers’ financial information. Hundreds of thousands of chipped credit and debit cards have already been sent to customers, but businesses are not required to have the updated credit card chip technology that protects the financial information on chipped cards until October 1, 2015. At this time, businesses are expected to have updated card readers and processing systems that generate a one-time code for each transaction with a chipped card. The code makes it virtually impossible for financial information to be duplicated or stolen.
While only 32% of small business owners are aware of the pending change, even less are aware of the steps they need to take to prepare their business for the EMV liability shift date. If your business doesn’t have the updated credit card chip technology this October, your business will be responsible for fraudulent charges.
Here are the steps to successfully prepare your business for the EMV liability shift date:
- Make a list of your current hardware. If you haven’t already, you’ll need to purchase new card readers for your checkout terminals. Make a list of all the current hardware your store has so that you can compare and get the best deal when purchasing new equipment. If you don’t accept mobile or contactless payments, now may be the time to consider upgrading so you don’t have to again in the next few years.
- Discuss EMV hardware options with your vendors. Your business’ merchant acquirer can help you compare and recommend payment processors that will accept chipped cards. Rather than the traditional swiping method, the new EMV technology will be a “dip” method that generates the one-time code needed to process the transaction. These payment processors are usually around a few hundred dollars. If you use a customized POS system in your business, your independent software vendor can help you become EMV compliant and make sure any updated POS and software systems will be compatible with new card readers.
- Purchase new hardware for your business. After you’ve taken the time to shop around, compare devices, and make your decision, you’ll need to purchase new payment processing hardware for your business. This will likely be done through your current technology vendor. While most businesses will get away with simply swapping out their current card readers for EMV compliant ones, this is also a time to consider upgrading your entire payment processing system. Coupling an updated card reader with inventory or customer-loyalty functionality, along with being able to accept mobile or contactless payments (such as ApplePay or Android Pay) may give you the most bang for your buck in the long term.
- Get your terminals EMV certified (if applicable) before the EMV liability shift date. Your technology merchant or vendor should be able to tell you if you need to participate in EMV Level 3 Certification. This will likely only need to be done if your business operates on a highly customized POS system.
- Train your employees. Like any new technology, there will be a learning curve with the EMV liability shift. A few key things employees will need to be trained on:
- Know the difference between “chip-and-signature” and “chip-and-pin” transactions and how they work.
- The transaction amount must be entered into the terminal before the chipped card is inserted.
- If the card is pulled out before the transaction is completed, the transaction must be cancelled and started over.
It’s best to start the change now before the EMV liability shift date becomes effective on October 1, 2015. What may feel like a costly hassle to you now will save you time and money in the long run.
Read more about the EMV liability shift: