Are You at Risk for Credit Card Fraud? What You Need to Know About EMV

As we approach the one-year anniversary of the EMV switch, a majority of businesses still haven’t made the transition. According to a poll conducted earlier this year, only 37 percent of US retailers are EMV compliant. Despite the fact that they can now be liable for fraudulent charges occurring as a result of their outdated payment technology, many businesses do not fully understand all the benefits of making the switch.

If you’re one of the many small businesses that haven’t yet upgraded, it’s important to know both the risks and the benefits. Here are a few things to know about EMV.

Fraud Has Decreased

Counterfeit fraud has dropped by more than 18 percent among some of the biggest merchants, according to Visa. EMV cards have a built-in computer chip that holds the financial information the system needs. Unlike strip-based cards, criminals can’t create an EMV card using only a cardholder’s account number, expiration date, and three-digit code.

Unfortunately, counterfeit fraud is on the rise among merchants that haven’t upgraded. This indicates that criminals are targeting businesses that are still having customers swipe at the register. Retailers who haven’t made the switch may see their vulnerability continue to increase as more merchants finalize the migration process.

Merchants Are Now Liable

The promised liability shift happened as planned, with banks sending retailers bills detailing all of the chargebacks that resulted from their failure to upgrade.

One payment network reported an increase of 50 percent in chargebacks, with businesses urged to make the switch to avoid similar charges in the future. Prior to EMV, banks always absorbed the cost, but in a post-EMV world, liability switches to the party that was responsible for a transaction being unsecure. When businesses upgrade, they protect themselves from liability.

For some retailers, the entire process is frustrating.  Many have had their equipment in place for months and are still awaiting certification. The three major card companies recently reported that they have streamlined processes to make it easier for businesses to finalize the upgrade.

If you haven’t been certified yet, it’s important to put the process in motion as soon as possible, especially with such long wait times. Once you’ve let your payment processing provider know you’re interested in making the transition, you should be sent an upgraded card reader. At that point, you’ll merely be waiting for a certification team to complete the setup process. There are now third-party providers that promise to speed up this process.  Therefore, it might help to research this option before beginning your wait.

Security Concerns

Even once your business has made the switch, though, you aren’t 100 percent safe. Experts predicted, “card-not-present fraud” to increase once EMV was in place, and preliminary reports suggest they were correct. According to the Global Fraud Attack Index, card-not-present fraud increased 11 percent following the EMV deadline. However, it’s important to note that online fraud increased 215 percent in 2015 as a whole. The change could be more closely related to an increase in online shopping in general.

In addition to upgrading to EMV, businesses should consider fraud prevention in their brick-and-mortar locations and on their ecommerce sites. This can include software that detects multiple requests from the same IP, matching contact information to billing information, and putting customer-friendly return policies in place to avoid chargebacks. Even small steps can help a business protect its income.

EMV helps businesses reduce credit card fraud, but it isn’t completely foolproof. Business owners should finalize the process of transitioning to EMV. But, they should also continue to pay close attention to fraud prevention tactics, especially if they sell products online. As criminals discover they can no longer commit fraud at physical locations, they’ll likely turn their attention to websites, where they only need the number, expiration date, and verification code to make purchases.

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