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6 Steps to EMV-Readiness

In an attempt to put credit card fraud in the rear-view mirror, the U.S. is set to make the transition to EMV chip credit cards. And though that transition is already underway (nearly 575 million chip-enabled cards will be issued by the end of 2015), the date you need to keep in mind is October 1: the day of the "liability shift," where businesses, not credit card companies, will be liable should fraud occur. That's because the chip, unlike the too-easy-to-reproduce magnetic strip, uses encrypted data unique to each purchase and nearly impossible to duplicate.

(Learn more about EMV chips What are EMV Chip Credit Cards, and Should I Make the Switch?)

To get this app for your business, go to www.zozi.com/advance

To get this app for your business, go to www.zozi.com/advance

And since EMV-chip credit cards are read differently by a special readers (in which you dip the card, rather than swipe), small business owners in all industries may soon need to accommodate for the new form of payment. Though at least 47 percent of U.S. merchants plan to be EMV ready by the end of 2015, not all businesses are ready for the switch. According to a recent survey conducted by Intuit, 86-percent of small business owners who will not migrate, or are undecided, may not be able to handle the financial and legal liabilities of fraudulent card transactions. In a June 2015 press release, Intuit's senior vice president, Eric Dunn, states, “The biggest barriers for small businesses to become EMV-compliant are cost and lack of time or resources required to research terminals."

So, how do you get yourself ready for the migration to EMV? Here are six steps to ensure you're ready:

1. Understand the difference between chip card systems.

New EMV readers are designed as Chip-and-PIN or Chip-and-Signature devices where you can either accept the smart card with a PIN number or require a signature. If you integrate a Chip-and-Signature device, you might need to upgrade your hardware again when PIN transactions become a more popular method for processing transactions.

2. Order EMV chip card readers.

As mentioned in our previous post, the average EMV chip card reader costs about $200 for a new model and as low as $150 for a refurbished model. You could rent a terminal for about $100 or less per year. Merchants who use ZOZI Advance can order a mobile-ready ZOZI Chip Card Reader here.

3. Update all software programs.

Some EMV chip card readers may come packaged with software that you will need to install on all devices. This would include all POS terminals, mobile payment devices such as tablets, and handheld devices you use to process payments. This process can be completed within an hour or two so consider going through with the EMV migration after-hours or during a slow period when you don't need to process any customer transactions.

If you are a ZOZI Advance merchant, out mobile-ready chip card reader is easy to install. All you need to do is download the ZOZI app for IOS or Android, plug in the chip card reader, and you're all ready to go!

 

4. Protect yourself from the Heartbleed Internet security bug.

Approximately 17 percent of secure websites were affected by the Heartbleed bug in April 2014, according to Netcraft, a threat to all companies that use OpenSSL software programs—a popular program for many merchants who use online payment systems and services. If you use Google, Yahoo!, and other online services, you may be at risk. Take a look at this comprehensive list of programs and services affected by the bug. Protect yourself from Heartbleed in the future by changing your EMV software passwords and other passwords for online services regularly. For additional protection, make sure employees do not share passwords at any time.

5. Train your employees.

Prepare a training seminar, webinar, or presentation to ensure all employees are aware of the changes and know how to use the new readers and software program. Since customers will no longer need to swipe the card, employees will need to change their language to ask customers to 'insert' their card in the reader and leave it there for a few seconds to process the transaction. This is a slight modification in the transaction process but one that all employees need to be aware of to ensure a smooth customer service experience.

6. Notify customers that you are EMV-compliant.

Many customers may not even realize that you are a merchant that now accepts EMV cards. Send out an email or formal letter by mail summarizing the industry changes and explain how your business is taking the lead on increasing security on all transactions by becoming EMV-compliant. This shows the customer that you are a trustworthy business that they can safely coordinate transactions with and that you can easily accept their EMV chip cards as a form of payment.

Keep in mind that customers who choose to pay with traditional magnetic stripe credit cards can still complete their transactions with the new credit card readers—EMV readers are designed to accept both magnetic stripe and microchip-enabled cards. This means you will never be in a position to turn customers away because you cannot process their older credit cards.

It is in your best interest to process all transactions using new, EMV-enabled machines. This way, you are no longer liable for fraudulent transactions and liability shifts back to the credit card company.