In 2014, data breaches totaled 1,540 worldwide, up 46% from the year before.  Of those breaches, which compromised more than 1 billion data records, 54% of them involved identity theft.  These statistics (reported in an article on Nasdaq.com) and many more like them are shaking up the financial services industry, causing big changes for small businesses worldwide.

Enter EMV Credit Card Chip Technology

The United States has reacted by switching to EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) technology which equips credit cards with a special computer chip designed to significantly increase security and decrease fraud. Unlike the magnetic strips found on traditional credit cards, the security chip in EMV cards creates a unique code that can be used only once. A fraudster who steals the code from a transaction and tries to use it again will be out of luck.

Paying with EMV Cards

For consumers, the change to EMV chip enabled credit cards is largely transparent.  The main difference is in the way a card is read. Instead of with one fluid swipe, cards will be read by inserting (or “dipping”) them into a slot and waiting a few seconds for the payment to process. It may take a tiny bit longer than usual, but the security benefits far outweigh the one or two seconds of delay. Whether or not a PIN will be necessary will depend on the verification method tied to individual cards.

Making the Shift to EMV

For business owners, the change is more involved. It’s now 2016, so if your small business is not yet equipped to accept EMV cards, you could be in trouble and liable should fraud occur. The original deadline of October 2015, has come and gone, so if you’re not EMV-ready, it’s time. In the long run, you and your company, as well as your customers, will be safer for it.

Making the shift is different for every business. The changes you need to make are based on the point-of-sale (POS) system you’re currently using, as well as the size and scope of your business. In some cases, you will need to update hardware and/or software. In others, you may just need to replace the card terminal.

To find out what’s needed, begin by consulting the credit card companies you use, as well as your bank and anyone else involved in processing payments for your business. Next, find an expert who can review your options and outline the costs involved with making the switch.

Technology companies like MAX Communications in Millville, NJ, can take you through the process step-by-step. They can also suggest upgrades, like enabling mobile payments that could result in cost savings long term.  Technology like this is revolutionizing the way consumers shop and pay, so now may be the perfect opportunity to make sure your business is ready.

Getting Help

If you’re a South Jersey business owner who wants to learn more about EMV compliance, MAX Communications can help.  We are a complete business telecommunications provider offering business telephone systems and security solutions throughout the Tri-State area.  We pride ourselves on our 10-year reputation for excellence, quality and customer satisfaction.  We looking forward to working with you.  To find out more, contact us for information and a free quote today.