In October, the credit card processing industry is going implement a major change that affects every point of sale: the introduction of EMV chip payments. EMV, which stands for Europay, Mastercard, and Visa, is a technology that is widely relied upon elsewhere in the world–Canada, Europe, Asia–but has yet to be mandated in the States. Now, the credit industry is being required to roll out the technology domestically to help counteract fraudulent charges.
EMV cards work by storing data on integrated chips rather that magnetic strips. When the card is charged, the buyer must also provide a pin number at the point of sale in order to authorize payment. Now, the card companies are moving the liability of fraudulent charges to the business owner that does not accept EMV cards. For small businesses, this means you should begin the following five steps to start preparing for compliance:
1. Assess Your Current POS System: your point of sale terminal may require new hardware and software in order to process the transaction. Confirm with you POS provider or the bank with which your run your business for more information.
2. Speak With Your Credit Card Processor: in addition to the point of sale, you should ensure that the processing is uninterrupted by the new method. Check in with your card processor to confirm compatibility.
3. Reevaluate Your Point of Sale: given the massive changes this and similar new technologies–like Apple Pay–cause, now might be a good time to upgrade or swap your system. This is a perfect opportunity to justify a change to a new system.
4. Keep Security in Mind: EMV is a more secure technology than magnetic stripes, but it’s not perfect. Furthermore, not everyone will immediately have new EMV cards come October. Thus, it is as important as ever to be aware of and ready for possible security issues. Ask your card provider to run an analysis on your system to find any information leaks.
5. Educate and Train your Employees: As cashiers, your team will be responsible for helping guests check out with the new technology. Be sure to explain the new cards and train them on the new process–they should no longer be handling guests cards, and that’s a major change!
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