Actually, here are two things to lose sleep over, and both have to do with the ongoing rollout of next-generation credit cards designed to prevent fraud.
You've probably here about them. They're called EMV cards by some -- short for "Europay, MasterCard and Visa."
These new cards have embedded chips that create a unique code for every purchase, making it harder for bad guys to use credit cards illegally.
Sleep Stealer #1: You're Liable If You're Not Ready
By October 1 of this year, you've got to get new card readers and software to handle next-generation credit cards that are being issued.
Why's that, you ask.
Well, it turns out that if you don't have the right machines and software in place, it's you who will be liable for fraud committed with any counterfeit credit cards.
In the past, if you followed the issuers anti-fraud operational guidelines, you typically couldn't be liable for a bogus charge. Not anymore. You have to have the right equipment and software, or else you'll be liable for any fraud that is initiated on a counterfeit card.
My advice is that you procrastinate on other things because failure to comply with this one could have serious consequences. Knock this one off the to do list ASAP.
Sleep Stealer #2: Online Fraud in the US Will Likely Increase
The other downside of the new credit cards is that thieves are now likely to try to commit their credit card fraud online.
Previously, crooks with stolen credit card numbers could manufacturer their own credit cards, printing a magnetic stripe for the card with the stolen credit card number. They could walk into a store and buy goods illegally. The new credit cards stop that, but what's a poor thief to do?
The alternative will be to go online and commit online credit card fraud. For business owners who sell online, that means you better be ready for mre fraudulent attempts on your e-commerce site.
Is this just a theory? Nope. Our friends at CreditCards.com tell us that "in every country that has switched to EMV cards -- and the United States is the last developed country to do so -- online fraud has jumped."
You're Not Alone
If you're behind the eight ball on this one, you can take a little comfort in knowing that many of your brethren small business owners across the country are too.
Wells Fargo & Co. recently surveyed small business ownersthat use credit card readers for transactions to see if they new about this massive change in the credit card world.
According to the study, only 49 percent of owners said they were aware of the deadline.
As painful as this may be, however, it's essential. Payment card fraud (mostly credit card fraud) grew by 29% last year to $7.1 billion.
It's time to nip that statistic in the bud and hope that the crooks decide to try making an honest living for a change.
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