EMV enabled credit card terminal

As a business owner, you are probably being bombarded with sales pitches from merchant service providers trying to upgrade your sales terminal and your service to accept EMV/chip cards. If you haven’t upgraded your sales terminals, find out what you need to know about EMV and how it affects your business. 

How Does EMV Work?

According to security experts, EMV provides for a much safer transaction.  Each time the card is used there is a random transaction ID generated between the card and terminal which passes to the merchant-provider. The unique random number is generated for the current transaction only. If the card data and the one-time code are stolen, the information cannot be used to create counterfeit cards and commit fraud. This reduces the amount of fraud and data breaches occurring. 

Why Should I Switch to an EMV Card Reader?

If your payment terminals are not chip-enabled, the burden for fraudulent transactions now falls on you, the merchant, as opposed to the financial institutions, after October of 2015. The liability costs can be staggering and is a significant main reason you need to upgrade. This typically will only affect merchants that are physically accepting cards.  Mail or phone order transactions for sales and service related businesses will not be affected as that process will remain the same as you don’t have physical access to the cards. 

Do I Need New Equipment?

You will need to purchase new equipment to process EMV transactions. Older merchant terminals do not have the ability to read the EMV cards properly to transmit the data. A simple way to check your terminal is to see if your machine actually has a slot to insert a card.  Depending on when you purchased the machine, the provider might have sold you an EMV machine without the service being activated. In this case, you can contact your merchant-provider and discuss activating EMV transactions for your terminal.  If you need new equipment, it is the right time to check First Commonwealth’s rates and services.  You want to be sure you are getting the best deal on new equipment, transaction rates and service.  The cost of the upgrade is far outweighed by the cost of the potential liability for fraudulent transactions or a data breach.    

First Commonwealth provides merchant services to many business members. If you want to get a comparison or are new to accepting credit cards, we have solutions that can help. Contact Business Services at 610.997.6381 or email us at business@firstcomcu.org.  Find out more about EMV cards.

by: Steven Mertz - First Commonwealth's Vice President Business Services