How to protect your business from the EMV shift

September 2015

If your business accepts on-site credit card payments for goods or services, your business could be held accountable for fraud.

Before October 1, 2015, if stolen credit card or bank account information was used to make purchases at your business, the bank or financial institution that issued the card had to bear the cost. The cardholder was not responsible to pay for charges he or she did not make, and your business was paid for the items sold or services rendered.

That is not the case anymore.

If you have not implemented EMV point-of-sale (POS) technology, you can be liable for fraud that takes place in your business. Use this EMV liability checklist to ensure you are prepared for the changes.

What is EMV?

Commonly referred to as chip card technology, the acronym EMV stands for the companies that developed the technology—Europay, MasterCard and Visa. It’s a small square chip embedded into a credit card. Rather than swiping to make a purchase, a customer has to insert the EMV chip into a compliant terminal. Today, about half the credit cards issued have an EMV chip already embedded.

If a magnetic stripe card gets stolen, or the information is copied, this info can be used repeatedly until the account is emptied or maxed out. With chip cards, each use generates a unique “one-time code” that is useless if stolen. The credit card companies believe this EMV technology is significantly more secure than traditional swipe cards.

If credit card fraud occurs during a purchase at your business, and you have EMV compliant POS technology, you are not liable. The credit card company is. But, if you are still using the legacy POS technology and a fraud occurs, the costs to your business can be high.

Four Simple Steps to Protecting Your Business During the EMV Liability Shift

1. Get Educated. When the credit card companies in the U.S. shift fraud liability on October 1, criminals won’t be the only ones targeting unprepared small business owners. The best way to protect yourself is to have a solid understanding of how EMV chip card technology works, keep track of what changes are occurring to U.S. liability shift policies and know what to expect from EMV chip-enabled terminals and payment processors.                

2. Create an EMV Enablement Plan with a Point-of-Sale Software Provider. Find a point-of-sale software provider that can supply you with an EMV-enabled card reader that also supports contactless payments and traditional magnetic stripe cards. Find out what’s required to upgrade and how much support you’ll receive for installation and integration now, so you have a clear picture of what investments in time, money and training will be necessary to ensure a smooth transition.

3. Talk to Your Processor. Have a discussion with your payment processor about what you can do to enhance security and reduce point-of-sale transaction fraud. Make sure to ask specifically when they will support EMV payment processing. Some point-of-sale providers have integrated payment processing, which simplifies things and saves you time by allowing you to have this discussion with a single point of contact.

4. Gather Price Quotes and Assess the Costs. The cost of upgrading to EMV point-of-sale technology will vary greatly depending on the features, functionality, level of support and overall quality of the software. Updated terminals can cost anywhere between $250 and $700. While monetary cost is important, it is essential to focus on value. When accessing the true cost of EMV point-of-sale, some of the things to consider are reliability of hardware, ease of use, and the type of dedicated support that will be available to you. You should also be on the lookout for hidden fees; some of the best POS providers are those that offer straightforward, transparent pricing.

On October 1, merchants large and small will be held liable for any fraudulent transactions that take place in their business. A level of effort is necessary to understand the limitations and functionality of EMV point-of-sale technology. As a Time Warner Cable Business Class customer, this month in PerkZone®, ShopKeep is offering our customers $500 off point-of-sale hardware including EMV readers when they subscribe to their service. Simply register for My Account to take advantage of this offer within PerkZone®

This piece was originally featured on Counter Culture, ShopKeep’s news and advice center dedicated to helping businesses discover insider tips and valuable resources on point-of-sale software and beyond. 


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