Accepting the CHIP just got more expensive….MAYBE

In 2017, PCI-DSS made some changes.  For those of you that don’t know what that stands for, (Payment Card Industry – Data Security Standards) it’s the technology that tries to keep customer card data safe.  This is good thing for business owners.  If you are a business owner that is currently accepting credit cards, then you should definitely know what this is and how it affects your business.

Before we get into the ‘changes’, let me discuss PCI-DSS (PCI for short).  It’s really more than just the technology.  It is also the processes and procedures that the business owner needs to follow in conjunction with PCI standards to ensure customer card data is safe.  When you signed your paperwork to accept credit cards, you signed a sheet agreeing to abide by these rules in, what they call, a program guide.  Most business owners NEVER read this and that’s fine.  It goes into the details of what you should and shouldn’t do when accepting cards.  Most of it is common sense.  I will discuss PCI Compliance in a later BLOG post, but for now, that’s about all you need to know.

Now, I’m going to take you back for a minute…. Way back….No, really way back… Before the MICROWAVE…No, that’s too far…Lets say, before the internet, email and the Sham-wow.  Who remembers those black, square credit card readers that sat on the countertop, had a dedicated printer that printed on 2 ply paper?  Not to mention, for being so small, really took up all the space on the counter.  When was the last time you saw one…???  As you can imagine, there is a reason they are no longer around.  Todays technology made them obsolete.  They can’t handle the information and encryption that is required to accept the vast variety of cards that banks are circulating now.

For this reason, every so often, terminals or machines, become obsolete and enter what we refer to as EOL…(End of Life).  They need to be replaced.  That means that the business owner needs to upgrade which usually costs money.  You introduce me to a business owner and I’ll point out a person that doesn’t like to pour money into their business, especially when they are told to for a reason they don’t understand.  Raise your hand if you’ve ever said, “Well, it worked fine yesterday!”  Exactly my point.  So, here we have some technology that most business owners don’t understand and when they have a terminal that hits the EOL and needs to be replaced, who gets yelled at for being the messenger?  Me or anyone like me. <Poor Me, Sad Face>  Most business owners are not hearing how or why it needs to be done, they simply hear there is a cost.  I get it…

Which brings me to the 2017 changes I spoke about earlier.  EMV or chip cards have dominated headlines for the last few years.  I’d be willing to bet that every credit card you have in your wallet has a chip on it now, and if you have one that doesn’t, it will be expired sometime in 2018.  That also means that if a merchant or business owner has a credit card terminal that doesn’t accept EMV or chip cards, it needs to.  In fact, if it doesn’t have the ability to accept EMV by Feb 2018, (Like 2 weeks from now) you will most-likely start to experience problems with how it functions.  Those terminals have effectively reached their EOL and need to be upgraded.  Even the ones that DO currently accept EMV, may need to have an upgraded file downloaded into it to upgrade the programming.  I’m confident the majority of business owners will not be affected since most already have EMV compatible terminals.

Your current merchant provider should have reached out to you by now explaining what needs to be done.  If they haven’t, you are probably going to be reaching out to them in about 3 weeks a little irritated because your machine doesn’t work anymore.  Before everyone starts to panic, if your machine has a slot on the front of it for EMV chip cards or an external pin pad that has a slot for EMV, you are probably good.  A simple download should be all you need. If you don’t have either one,

DOOMSDAY IS ABOUT TO ARRIVE

I’m kidding.  Your terminal will however, stop functioning as consistently as it has been.  You WILL need to upgrade and the sooner the better.  Machines are inexpensive, $200-$300 in most cases.  If your processor wants to charge you more, get a new processor.  For those of you that don’t have a slot for EMV and really do feel the end is near, you can still process cards.  You will just need to hand key them into your terminal.  SO, slowly back away from the ledge, you are going to be fine.

Why am I telling you this now? Frankly because you need to know and if your current processor hasn’t reached out to your by now, they should be soon.  Again, I can’t stress enough, the majority of business owners will not be affected.  Of all my clients, just 16 of them were affected.  I have been coordinating the upgrade with them to make sure there is time and explain to them why it is needed.  That’s why my clients love me!  I keep them updated on changes so they don’t find out the hard way.  They know I have their backs and trust me to take care of them.

Some food for thought:

  • Do you have an EMV slot for cards on your terminal?
  • Do you have an external Pin Pad attached to your terminal that has an EMV slot?

 

If you answered ‘NO’ to both questions, then I would expect a call from your processor or watch your terminal die a slow painful death.  If you answered ‘YES to either question, then you should be good to go.  If you answered ‘YES’ and you still hear from you processor about an upgrade, understand that it should JUST be a software upgrade.  Don’t be duped into buying a new terminal because of this.  Anytime changes like this happen, processors fail to fully educate merchants on ‘what’s really going on’ and try to make bags of money off their customers by scaring them.  If you have a good representative or processing company, that should never happen.

If you get nothing more out of reading my BLOGS, get this…I’m here to educate my customers on the card processing industry.  The MORE they know, the better for me.  My customers trust me because I give them the whole story, good and bad news.  I think that makes me better than most.

Until next week,

I’m Ed Craft, your credit card guy!

15 years in the business and counting.

 

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