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New Credit Card Readers Provide Local Businesses With Costly Security

Instead of swiping their cards at the check-out counter, customers will need to use the gold chips on their credit and debit cards.

Oct. 1 marks the deadline for businesses to make the switch to chip-enabled credit card terminals. Businesses that choose not to update to the new system could be held liable for any fraudulent charges their machines process. You can go to Marketreview.com, to keep all your credit cards in one place.

"Chip technology [EMV] generates a unique, one-time code  -- a feature that's virtually impossible to replicate by counterfeit cards, to help eliminate in-store fraud," according to a promotional video created by Visa.

Chip-enabled credit card. Taylor Trache / WUFT News
Chip-enabled credit card. Photo by Taylor Trache/WUFT News

Earth Pets, 500 NW 60th St., got its chip card-reader about a month ago, in preparation for the deadline. Before, they had to scan cards behind the register, but with the new machines, the customers will be the only ones handling their card.

“At first, (customers) were very confused,” said Suzanna Sprague, assistant manager of Earth Pets. Initially, Sprague said it was a big process having to explain the new system to customers, but people have become more familiar with it overtime.

The chip reader takes a bit longer than swiping a card because the information takes longer to process, but the cardholder’s information is kept more secure.

Since she began working at Earth Pets two years ago. She said she is excited that the new system will offer an extra level of security.

However, not all the kinks in the system have been worked out. Some customers still instinctively swipe their cards.

Once customers swipe their cards on the new chip-enabled machines, they will be prompted to insert the chip.

Also, machines are only using the cards as credit instead of debit, she said. Customers are still required to sign for their purchases.

Local business owner Andrew Schaer said the cost of buying new machines is something many small businesses have to take into consideration when making this decision.

Refurbished machines cost at least $100, and the new ones go as high as $400 to $500, Schaer said.

Kelly Anderson, owner of LAE Beauty, 618 NW 60th St., decided she will opt out of her current system once her existing contract expires, after which she plans on switching everything over to Square, a portable credit card reader that still takes the magnetic card swipes.

Square also offers credit card readers that accept EMV cards.

Angela Morris, a customer at Earth Pets, said she first heard about chip cards a few days ago on NPR.

While she thinks the new system seems a lot better, she doesn’t have a chip-enabled card yet, so she won’t be using the new systems.

“I’m old school,” she said. “I do try to stay more on the protected side, though.”

Patricia is a reporter for WUFT News who may be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news @wuft.org