You may not pay much attention to your merchant card services account in your small business, but here’s why you should immediately: On October 1, 2015, all businesses that accept credit cards must have systems that accept EMV chip credit cards. EMV stands for Europay, Mastercard and Visa, the three credit card companies that initially created this fraud-preventive card system. The cards, which have been used in Europe for years, include an embedded chip that makes it difficult for hackers to steal credit card numbers. Here are a few steps to help you get your credit card system EMV Compliant.
Transitioning to EMV for Your Small Business
If you accept credit cards, it’s important that you move over to machines that accept the EMV cards otherwise your small business may have to pay for credit card fraud. Up until now, banks shouldered the cost, but this move to EMV is to reduce the amount banks pay to cover fraud charges. If you don’t comply by accepting the new chip credit cards, by October you will be financially liable for the loss.
Step 1: Talk to Your Credit Card Processing Company
Likely, your credit card processor will reach out to you with information on the transition, if it hasn’t already. You will need a new card swiping machine because the EMV machines need a slot where the card can be inserted and the chip read, as opposed to the machines where customers simply swipe their cards.
If you got your machine this year, it may already have EMV capabilities but you still need to talk to your processor to make sure you’re set up to use it for EMV. There may be a process or an upgrade to your account that needs to happen before you can accept EMV chip cards.
Step 2: Check Your Equipment
If you run your credit card transactions through — gasp — dial-up or anything other than an Ethernet line, you may need to upgrade your service because EMV chips send a lot of information through that wire. The transactions will take a lot longer if you’re still using a phone line, and you don’t want your customers to get annoyed when a sale takes too long.
Step 3: Check Your Mobile Phone Swiper
If you use a mobile card reader like Square, make sure it will accept EMV cards. This will allow you to accept payments on the go (like at an event or farmer’s market) without worrying about fraud.
Step 4: Let Your Customers Know
Just like you’ll be informed about the changes EMV brings as a retailer, your customers probably will be, too. Let them know that you’re fully compliant and accepting EMV cards as soon as possible so your customers know they can easily buy from you with their new credit cards.
EMV should bring positive changes for us all. Yes, there will be a slight learning curve as you get familiar with this new payment option but, before long, you’ll wonder what we did before it.