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Are you ready?

There is a lot of buzz out there about credit card security and how to protect yourself from the associated fraud. I have to say that I am not incredibly worried as an individual. Should I be? I probably should be a bit more worried than I am, however, I choose not to live paranoid in a digital world. Why? This is the world we live in, like it or not. So my question is to all of you, “are you ready?”

There are a variety of ways that you can protect yourself from credit card fraud. As a victim of credit card fraud on more than one occasion, I can tell you that it is not just the online digital world that you have to worry about. It is also not the small business owners that you need to be wary of. Target, Home Depot, and other big box retailers are prime examples of where credit card fraud can happen on a much bigger scale.

You can do lots of research online through the various trusted sources on ways to protect yourself, your credit cards, and ultimately your credit. I will leave that research to you. Your mileage will vary by how you use your credit cards. I just want to say that you should not hide from the fact that we do in fact live in a digital world and it can be a safe form of payment no matter where you shop. Just be cautious. There is no need to be paranoid, just cautious.

I want to address the business owners out there as we are quickly approaching the October 1, 2015 deadline for switching to the “more secure” EMV credit cards. Many of you as individuals and business owners are probably receiving new chip based credit cards and debit cards in the mail as you are reading this. Many of you have probably already received them. This is a big deal.

If you do not know what the October 1, 2015 date means, you need to do some further more detailed research on your own, but to give you quick overview: you need to update the way you handle credit cards from here on out or you as the business owner become liable for fraud.

Yes, I know that sounds harsh and kind of brutal because that can be a big deal, but the reality is if you do not step up to the plate on this, the banks and credit card issuers are no longer going to take responsibility for the fraud, the responsibility for that crime falls on you the place that took the credit card at the time of purchase. It almost doesn’t sound fair. It might not be. However, there are a few things that you can do to protect yourself to put that liability back on the card issuer – they once again will take responsibility for the fraud.

You need to get an EMV compatible card reader. It is that simple.

Unfortunately, for many small businesses this simple step WILL come with some cost attached to it. The chip based card readers are more expensive than the magnet stripe readers. That cost is being off-set onto the customers – the business owners. At least that is what I am finding as of right now. They are picking up some of the cost but not all of it and so where you got a free card reader before, you will have to shell out a little bit of cash to get your new card reader to comply with the new rules by October 1, 2015.

I have to say, however, even at the price of these new readers, it is a small price to pay when compared to the amount you could end up paying if you do end up with credit card fraud. I do not even see it as a catch 22. You will end up making up the change you pay for the credit card over a short amount of time in most cases. The bonus on many of these credit card readers is that they also accept contactless payment such as ApplePay. How cool is that?

So what is one to do?

The easiest way to find the quickest fix to your current credit card solution is to research your current credit card swipe device(s) and/or services. Do they have an upgrade option? If they do, then investigate what steps you need to do get upgrade your services and devices to the new EMV compatible devices.

If you feel that their option is a little on the “too pricey” side, you can then shop around for other options.

If you are using a PayPal Here credit card swipe device, they are offering their device at a reduce price currently. Here is the information on that. The beauty about their device is that it does allow you to take contactless payment. Unfortunately, their device is rather pricey. It is $149. If you process $3000 through the device, they will send you a rebate for $100.