Local business gets new card reader to prevent chances of credit card fraud

People are getting new cards with the latest anti-fraud technology

Credit card fraud is a trillion dollar problem and now businesses are taking additional steps to help potential victims.

More and more people are starting to get new credit and debit cards in the mail with the latest anti-fraud technology built right in, but in order to use the new safety measure on the card businesses have to get a new card reader.

Businesses technically have until Oct. 1 to convert to the new card readers that can accept micro chipped credit cards, but it comes at a cost of about $700 per machine.

One local business owner said she would rather pay that and make it more secure for her customers rather than be held liable for fraud.

It may be a little quiet in Finnottes in downtown La Crosse right now, but come the holiday season, business picks up.

“Christmas is by far our busiest season,” said Laurie Finn, manager of Finnottes.

That is why Finn said now is the perfect time to switch out the old credit card readers and learn about the new system.

“It’s easier to get something like this ready and moving and getting used to it when it’s not so busy and then when you are busy, it’s a matter of fact,” said Finn.

In an effort to cut down on financial fraud, banks are issuing new credit and debit cards with anti-fraud chips in them.

“It actually adds an extra level of security to the consumer transaction,” said Wayne Oliver, executive vice president of State Bank.

But in order for them to work, the businesses have to have a new card reader system.

“You will still have a pin, the difference being instead of swiping the card, you insert the card, they call it dipping the card, and it stays there through the transaction,” said Oliver.

“It’s a very small learning curve, there’s really not a lot new that has to go into what we do, it just takes a little more time,” said Finn.

But for Finn a little more time is a small price to pay giving the alternative, which starts Oct. 1.

“Up until this point it has always been the bank’s problem with liability,” said Oliver. “If a customer comes to someone tomorrow and they have chip card and that merchant doesn’t have a chip card-enabled reader, that retailer could be liable for any potential fraud.”

“That’s one of the reasons we made sure we got this new system in place,” said Finn. “Small businesses will have the hardest time recovering those loses if it comes to that.”

And with the holiday season right around the corner, Finn said she would rather focus more on her chocolate than have to worry about fraud liability.

Consumers have the same protections with the new card as they did with the old one. There is no liability for fraud on their end. It’s just a different way to use the card.

Oliver said as of Wednesday morning, the industry is estimating at most 40 percent of people have the new chip card already.