Businesses will become liable for card fraud with new technology

The act of swiping your credit or debit card to make purchases is on its way to becoming a thing of the past. EMV technology, named after the consortium of Europay, MasterCard, and Visa, features a chip that communicates directly with new card readers to help increase the security of transactions over the traditional magnetic strip.

While the technology has been available internationally since 1992, the payment card industry is now implementing EMV in the United States in hopes of preventing problems like the massive security breach at Target stores this past holiday season. Merchants who do not upgrade to EMV-capable equipment by October 2015 will face liability for fraudulent transactions – a responsibility that was previously held by the banks who issued credit or debit cards.

“So if the hardware store sells a hammer for $25, and it’s a fraudulent transaction – somebody stole the card or what have you – and that merchant does not have the new technology, the merchant will be out the $25 for the hammer,” said Paul Werner, Extension Educator for the Michigan State University Extension.

Businesses are encouraged to speak with their payment processors and banks to understand what they need to do to be compliant with the EMV standard. There are a few things that those who accept cards can already do to help prevent fraud.

“A best management practice is to take the card, check a photo I.D., make sure that’s the person with the card, and then double check the signature,” Werner added.

Card issuers are currently distributing EMV cards to cardholders, but they are not yet widely available. Werner encourages consumers to request an EMV card to help reduce fraudulent transactions and advocate for adoption of the equipment among merchants.