EMV: The 411 for you and your small biz

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EMV Compliance Small Business

Hopefully, this is on your small business radar … a little more than a month ago there was a shift in the world of U.S. credit card fraud liability. As of Oct. 1, 2015, the liability for card-present fraud shifted from financial institutions to whomever between the institutions and the merchant (you) is less EMV-compliant.

The Hartford's 2015 Small Business Success Study recently found that 50% of merchants were unaware of the Oct. 1 deadline for shifted liability. Also, 80% of small business owners said they do not currently accept EMV cards.

OK, so what is EMV compliance? Well, we’re glad you hypothetically asked. We are going to give you the answers both you and your employees need as it relates to this topic. We are headed into the holiday shopping season after all!

EMV compliance refers to EMV – Europay, MasterCard, Visa – cards, the new chip-containing credit cards currently being issued by financial institutions. Instead of the old magnetic strip cards – which carried user data that could easily be stolen – EMV technology produces transaction-specific data that is pretty much impossible to duplicate. This technology has been used in Europe to combat fraud for awhile now.

Unlike magnetic-stripe cards, every time an EMV card is used for payment, the card chip creates a unique transaction code that cannot be used again, according to CreditCards.com.

The cards are fairly simple to use; they’re “dipped” or inserted into a card reader rather than the old swiping method. However, cards offer both options – EMV chips and magnetic swipe strips. You may have seen said card-dippers already at Target or Costco, as they’ve made the switch already. So, yes, a big part of becoming compliant will require buying new equipment.

EMV equipment will run you $150-$500 on average per machine, though discounts are available through payment processing companies if you sign a contract. And merchants using mobile payment readers can get Square’s EMV devices for $49.

Is it a large expense of time and money? Not really. And, it’s nothing compared to the expense when savvy criminals figure out you’re still not using EMV.

For now, EMV cards can also be swiped, so it’s not like your customers with EMV won’t be able to shop with you. According to the Strawhecker Group, 44% of U.S. cardholders will have EMV cards by the end of this year. That number is expected to reach 100% by 2018.

The card will require signatures for now. As the technology becomes more widespread dip-and-PIN systems will be introduced, as well as tappable cards for near-field communications that will change.

While it may seem a hassle, EMV compliance is crucial for your small business. And, if the cost of conversion is holding your company back, BFS Capital can help you with a small business loan to get it done before it’s too late.

As champions of small business, BFS Capital believes in you. We’re here to empower your business with the capital you need to grow. We offer flexible financing solutions.

Matt Meltzer is a professor of business communication at the University of Miami. He is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and holds a bachelors degree in business administration from UM, as well as a Masters of Mass Communication from the University of Florida.