New credit card system to be highlighted in workshop

Published 5:52 pm Monday, July 20, 2015

A new system for purchasing with debit and credit cards is on its way to becoming a way of life for business transactions in the United States. The new system, affecting banks, local businesses and cardholders alike, will make it more difficult for card-related fraud to occur.

EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa), a global standard for inter-operation of integrated circuit cards, will soon be the primary means of purchase via chip-based payment — credit and debit payment cards with embedded microchips define how the cards interact with point-of-sale and ATM infrastructures, according to an informational document from Lentz Stowe, director of Beaufort County Community College’s Small Business Center. The transition from magnetic-stripe cards will mainly affect sales in retailers and not online or over-the-phone purchasing, the document said. Banks must begin issuing cards to accommodate the new system by October, but not all banks will participate due to the cost of the transition. In turn, merchants will have to be prepared to accept payment from the new integrated-circuit cards and will incur costs associated with new terminals.

For merchants and financial institutions, the switch to EMV means adding new in-store technology and internal processing systems, and complying with new liability rules. For consumers, it means activating new cards and learning new payment processes, the document said.

The primary advantage of the new chip-based system is it will be more difficult for a thief to duplicate, the document said. With numerous large-scale data breaches and increasing rates of counterfeit-card fraud, U.S. card issuers are transitioning to protect consumers and reduce the costs of fraud. While the current form of cards used for payment are easily susceptible to thieves accessing sensitive data and cardholder information, the microchip in new cards creates a unique transaction code that cannot be used again, making it harder for criminals to successfully profit from what they steal, the document said.

Through a partnership between BCCC’s Small Business Center, First Bank of Washington, the Washington-Beaufort Chamber of Commerce and TransFirst, a provider of payment processing services, an informational workshop will be held Thursday, from noon to 1:30 p.m., at the Chamber, Stowe said. The workshop, free and open to the public, will feature Scott Chinni and Stacy Adams, representatives of TransFirst, both of whom will present valuable information for business owners and other attendees, according to Stowe.

“(First Bank) stepped up to the plate, and we’re excited about doing this,” Stowe said. “Bringing somebody who is a subject-matter expert is what we always try to do (when hosting workshops). With anything we do, we reach out and look for some partners in bringing this type of thing to the service area. I think it’s relevant and timely for, particularly, retailers. The spirit of doing this workshop is to give everybody a heads up about a change in this way of purchasing for customers and find out what it has to do in the day-to-day operations of our businesses.”

For more information or to pre-register, call Eva Peartree at 252-940-6375 or email her at