Thursday, December 14th, 2017

A possible burden awaits small businesses

Posted: Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Washington Post

American consumers are beginning to receive in the mail new credit cards that add a security chip to the traditional magnetic strip that processes their payments. The hope is the new cards cut down on credit card fraud but many small businesses do not appear ready for the change.

A deadline for phasing in secure, chip-enabled payment cards across the country kicks in on October 1. That’s when banks are supposed to finish distributing the new plastic to customers. Businesses will need to install new card readers to process the information on the chips. Those that do not have the new technology in place by then will be on the hook for any security lapses or fraudulent transactions, instead of payment-processing firms.

But four months before the deadline, more than 28 percent of small business owners who process payment cards are not even aware of the new technology or how it affects their business, according to a new survey by Manta, an online small business community site.

The survey polled 1,609 business owners and asked them whether or not they planned to adopt the new payment card technology by October 1, with a margin of error of 2.44 percentage points. Of those who did accept cards, the majority did not even know about the new payment technology, or why they needed to install it, the survey found. More than 16 percent of owners also said they had not seen customers using the new chip cards.

The lack of awareness is “concerning,” said John Swanciger, Manta’s chief executive. Payment companies need to do more to educate small businesses about their liability, he said. The findings echo a similar survey conducted by software firm Intuit last month, which polled 500 small businesses that employ up to a hundred employees. Forty-two percent of owners surveyed were not aware of the deadline.