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Businesses Now Liable for Fraud for Old Credit Card Readers

By Christopher Coble, Esq. | Last updated on

In Europe, merchants abandoned magnetic credit card swiping machines long ago, in favor of cards with embedded computer chips. Thus far, American stores and shops have lagged behind.

But that's all about to change. Starting today, retailers who don't install microchip card readers could be on the hook for any fraudulent charges on old magnetic swipe machines. So what does your small business need to do to catch up with this new technology?

Swiping Is Old News

Previously, if a thief used a stolen or counterfeit card, the bank issuing the card would repay both the cardholder and the retailer. Now, however, if a store doesn't follow new security protocols, like installing chip card readers, the store will have to pay.

It's an effort to curb debit and credit card fraud, one that's left many small businesses scrambling to locate new credit card readers. NPR is reporting that, due to the spike in demand for the new machines, some merchants won't get theirs until December. Until then, retailers with the now-outdated magnetic card readers will have to keep their fingers crossed.

Chip Off the New Block

New cards have a unique microchip embedded in the card which makes them harder to forge. While skeptics of the new requirements point out that card information can still be stolen online or used for Internet purchases, proponents believe the chips will reduce point-of-sale fraud. But it's not just businesses that have been slow to pick up on the new chip technology -- many banks haven't issued chip cards to their customers yet.

The PCI Security Standards Council sets forth the payment card security guidelines. PCI's security standards include assessing your company's technology and possible vulnerabilities, implementing security remediation measures, and issuing regular compliance reports to banks and credit card companies.

If you need help with PCI compliance or have had legal issues with your card processing systems, you can contact an experienced commercial attorney near you.

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