One thing became clear during the Feb. 3 Senate hearings on credit card security, it is that the duty to protect card payment systems falls to everyone in the payment chain.
This means that banks and credit card issuers need to provide for up to date security, merchant processors need to be able to handle card payments securely, customers need to have the ability to get secure credit cards, and finally merchants need to have a secure method of accepting payments.
If you listen to the posturing on Capitol Hill, another thing that becomes clear is that is that each of the major players claim the slow adoption of secure payment systems might be someone else's fault. But that's not the case. In fact, it's everyone's fault that the more secure method of processing card payments, the EMV chip and PIN system, isn't as widely available in the U.S. as it is everywhere else in the world.
As a business the best you can do is to take responsibility for the part of the credit card process over which you have some control. That means if you want to reduce fraud, you need to be able to accept the more secure EMV-equipped chip and PIN cards. These credit cards work by inserting the credit card into a reader, at which point the customer will be asked to enter a PIN on the number pad. At that point the sale will be approved.
One of the great misunderstandings about EMV card acceptance is that it's somehow hard to accomplish and difficult to implement. Turns out, it's neither. In fact, it turns out that if your business wants to accept EMV equipped cards, all you have to do is ask the right person.
I talked with spokespeople from Bank of America and Chase to find out exactly what's required for a business to accept the secure chip and PIN cards. According to Joe Rauch, a spokesman for Bank of America Merchant Services the first thing you need is a merchant account with BofA or some other bank that handles the secure card readers. Rauch said that once the merchant is set up to accept credit cards, they will need to purchase the card reader.
The card reader does require an investment of between several hundred to as much as two thousand dollars, Rauch said, depending on the type of machine that the business needs, the details of their point of sale system and how many readers they need.