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New credit cards and technology affect businesses
The instatement of Europay, Mastercard and Visa (EMV) cards officially launched in October across the United States. These microchipped cards have been a mainstay in Europe since 2005, and in Canada since 2012.
EMV cards should be in holiday shoppers' wallets this season. They are manufactured with a small integrated circuit, or "chip." They are considered more secure since payment data is read from the chip, rather than from the magnetic strip we are all so used to. These chips are more difficult and expensive to counterfeit, according to Tom DeSimone of Merchantmaverick.com. Furthermore, the user's data is transmitted differently each time a transaction is made.
What does that mean for business owners who have heard sales pitches from agents over the past few years? While it seems as if upgrading is required, mostly due to sales people, it is not immediately necessary. You will not be fined, (yet), and new cards still have the magnetic strip on them. However, not upgrading can be costly for other reasons.
DeSimone recommends upgrading as soon as possible because you, as the business owner, are now at greater risk for fraud liability if you process a counterfeit chip. Businesses and their processing companies are considered liable for any counterfeit smart card transactions.
Furthermore, your processing company can and most likely will force you to upgrade. Merchant Maverick recommended the following companies when looking at upgrading your machine: Dharma Merchant Services, Helcim, Payline Data, Payment Depot and Fattmerchant.
While the short answer is no, you don't HAVE to upgrade right now, the more technical answer is yes, you should, to avoid risk liability. Be sure to check with your bank and processing company for additional assistance.
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