How local banks are helping businesses with transition to microchip credit cards

By Sal Christ
Albuquerque Business First | June 8th, 2015

As the U.S. ramps up for its adoption of EMV standards in October, banks and other financial institutions are assisting both consumers and business owners with the transition. 

EMV, which stands for Europay, Mastercard and Visa, is a global, technical standard for smart-payment cards equipped with microchips and technology for so-called “chip-pin” or “chip-signature” cards; the chip technology is believed to be more secure than traditional magnetic strip authentication, thus reducing the risk of credit card fraud. The U.S. is the last major region in the world to adopt the standard, which was created in 1995. 

Wells Fargo has taken steps to educate its individual and small business customers about the upcoming changes via its Wells Fargo Works website. 

“We know our customers trust us to protect their information. We work hard to help prevent card fraud and we support the banking industry’s transition to chip technology as an important tool in fighting counterfeit fraud both in stores and at ATMs. We currently offer chip-card-capable payment terminals to our merchant customers and issue chip-enabled credit cards to many customers in our consumer, small business and commercial card portfolios,” said Brett Welcher, New Mexico spokesman for the bank. Additionally, he said the bank is testing the technology with its debit cards and plans to issue chip-equipped debit cards in the coming year. 

Other banks in the area are communicating with their customers about the upcoming change. 

According to Jason Pugh, director of product management and QuickBooks payment with Intuit, no special fees are associated with EMV transactions, but there are some costs to upgrade software and hardware — $30 for the mobile reader and up to $250 for POS terminals. 

Both Pugh and Welcher said that business owners should educate themselves and their employees about the new technology before the official adoption of EMV in October of this year. 

Many banks and credit unions in the state and elsewhere have already started reissuing debit and credit cards with the chip technology and starting this summer, First Financial Credit Union will have “instant issue” machines in all of its locations for new debit cards that are compliant with EMV standards.