October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month and this year, there is one development in particular that’s creating lots of buzz among small businesses and consumers – the switch from traditional credit cards to EMV/chip cards in the United States. EMV is a global payment standard for credit cards that is used in more than 80 countries. EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) technology makes each in-store transaction unique so that counterfeit cards cannot be created.
Beginning Oct. 1, the liability for card-present fraud shifts to whichever party is the least EMV-compliant in certain fraudulent transactions – which means small businesses, if they haven’t begun using machines that accept chip cards. These chip cards enable more strongly encrypted transactions that should decrease fraud among brick-and-mortar stores.
However, based on research from other countries, analysts are predicting that while storefront retailers will see a decline in fraud, online credit card fraud will likely rise, since online purchases don’t allow the extra level of security the chip provides. Consumers manually enter their information, so the chip is not scanned to make the transaction encrypted and unique. Increasingly, when it comes to cyber security breaches, it’s no longer a matter of IF it will happen, but WHEN it will happen to you.
That’s a problem. So how can small businesses and their customers protect themselves from online fraud?