Come October, Your Credit Card Machine Needs to Be EMV Compliant

08/19/2015 10:45 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The way we small businesses process credit card payments is about to change: starting on October 1, 2015, all businesses that accept credit cards must use systems that can process EMV chip credit cards. Here's what you need to know about the transition.

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EMV stands for Europay, Mastercard and Visa, the three credit card companies that initially created this fraud-preventive card system. The cards, which have been used in Europe for years, include an embedded chip that makes it difficult for hackers to steal credit card numbers. Here are a few steps to help you get your credit card system EMV Compliant.

Converting to EMV for Your Small Business
If you accept credit cards, it's important that you move over to machines that accept the EMV cards otherwise your small business may have to pay for credit card fraud. Up until now, banks shouldered the cost, but this move to EMV is to reduce the amount banks pay to cover fraud charges. If you don't comply by accepting the new chip credit cards, by October you will be financially liable for the loss.

Step 1: Talk to Your Credit Card Processor
Likely, your credit card processor will reach out to you with information on the transition, if it hasn't already. You will need a new card swiping machine because the EMV machines need a slot where the card can be inserted and the chip read, as opposed to the machines where customers simply swipe their cards.

If you got your machine this year, it may already have EMV capabilities but you still need to talk to your processor to make sure you're set up to use it for EMV. There may be a process or an upgrade to your account that needs to happen before you can accept EMV chip cards.

Step 2: Make Sure Your Equipment is Up to Speed
If you run your credit card transactions through -- gasp -- dial-up or anything other than an Ethernet line, you may need to upgrade your service because EMV chips send a lot of information through that wire. The transactions will take a lot longer if you're still using a phone line, and you don't want your customers to get annoyed when a sale takes too long.

Step 3: Check Your Mobile Phone Swiper
If you use a mobile card reader like Square, make sure it will accept EMV cards. This will allow you to accept payments on the go (like at an event or farmer's market) without worrying about fraud.

Step 4: Inform Your Customers
Just like you'll be informed about the changes EMV brings as a retailer, your customers probably will be, too. Let them know that you're fully compliant and accepting EMV cards as soon as possible so your customers know they can easily buy from you with their new credit cards.

Despite the hassle of implementing change, accepting EMV credit cards should help cut down on fraud, and that's good for us all.

This article was originally published under the title Is Your Credit Card Processing System EMV Compliant? at www.succeedasyourownboss.com

Melinda F. Emerson, SmallBizLady is America's #1 small business expert. She is an author, speaker and small business coach whose areas of expertise include small business start-up, business development and social media marketing. She writes a weekly column for the New York Times, publishes a resource blog,www.succeedasyourownboss.com, which is syndicated through The Huffington Post. She also hosts a weekly talk show on Twitter called #SmallBizChat for small business owners. As a brand, she reaches 1.5 million entrepreneurs a week on the internet. As CEO of Quintessence Multimedia, Melinda develops audio, video and written content to fulfill her mission to end small business failure. Forbes Magazine named Melinda Emerson one of the #1 Woman for Entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter. Melinda has been featured on MSNBC, Fox News, NBC Nightly News and in Fortune, The Washington Post, USA Today, Wall Street Journal and Black Enterprise. She is the bestselling author of "Become Your Own Boss in 12 months; A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business That Works," and the ebook How to Become a Social Media Ninja; 101 Ways to Dominate Your Competition Online.