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Learn How Non-EMV Merchants Can Accept Credit Cards Safely

Ray Moorman

Merchants across all industries have to stay current with important security measures to protect their customers and their data. One of the most recent measures came from an alliance between Europay, MasterCard and Visa called EMV. Effective Oct. 1, 2015, this standard shifts liability for fraudulent credit card purchases from the card companies to business owners based on the specifics of a transaction. Card brands and issuers began distributing new EMV-enabled, so-called chip, cards which require a point of sale system that's able to hold and read the chip. Merchants are responsible for implementing the new software or could face monetary liability for counterfeit transactions that take place on their terminal.

Although many merchants were aware of the liability transition, only 301,000 out of 6 million were actually prepared for the switchover. (1) Today, most business owners are still in the process of introducing the hardware, weighing whether or not the progression is worth it. This decision is not an easy one, as updating POS solutions can be a costly endeavor. While considering the pros and cons, there are several steps you can take to continue accepting credit card payments while also safeguarding your customers:

Work with a trusted POS vendor
There's a lot to understand when accepting credit cards. To ensure the practice is being completed in the safest way possible - for both you and your customers - work with a credible POS provider. These third-party companies can give you the assistance you need to protect vital consumer materials at every step of the process. Furthermore, outsourcing these responsibilities will help you remain compliant with certain safety standards and guarantee the proper precautions are put in place for customer credit cards.

Become PCI compliant
EMV isn't the only safety procedure you can take to secure consumer data and company reputation. The Payment Card Industry has its own set of Data Security Standards, offering business owners a detailed course of action to follow to avoid data breaches, protect vulnerable customer records and accept payment safely. The framework is updated frequently, but provides merchants 12 basic practices that will help in the long run. (2)

Just like EMV, it is not mandatory for companies to become PCI compliant, but it can help you avoid expensive penalties tied to data theft and loss of standing in your industry. Adherence to these regulations will also make businesses more trustworthy to clients and will, therefore, make them more competitive among their opponents.

Develop an online acceptance procedure
Many merchants today operate an ecommerce store - either as a standalone or in addition to their brick-and-mortar location. Either way, it's important for these business owners to accept credit cards securely online as well as they would in person. To ensure this process is safe, you should create an online acceptance policy. Small Business Trends recommends requiring a security code for all purchases, verifying the billing and shipping addresses and restricting the number of declined transactions. (3) Utilizing these procedures will help you ensure that you're accepting accurate credit card information from the cardholder, instead of a fraudster. By expanding these guidelines to include mandatory tracking numbers, signature upon delivery and researching suspicious email accounts, businesses can cut down on the number of fraudulent purchases and maintain secure credit card acceptance.

Although the Oct. 1, 2015 EMV acceptance deadline has come and gone, many merchants are still deciding whether or not to become compliant. During this decision-making process, however, it's still crucial for you to continue accepting credit card payments in a safe way. Working with a credible POS vendor, adhering to PCI guidelines and implementing an online acceptance policy will help you secure your consumers' sensitive information while also building a trustworthy reputation in the industry.

  1. http://visacorporate.tumblr.com/post/130209237023/fact-sheet-emv-chip-adoption-in-the-us
  2. https://www.pcisecuritystandards.org/documents/PCI SSC Quick Reference Guide.pdf
  3. http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/09/tips-prevent-online-credit-card-fraud.html

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