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Change in credit card technology law bears consideration

After multiple incidences of purportedly secure credit card information being stolen by computer hackers, a new piece of technology is being added to credit cards that is supposed to make transactions unhackable. In order for the transactions to be secure, however, credit card reading devices used in businesses must be able to read the chips. This upgrade comes with a new credit card technology law that makes a Georgia business owner responsible for any damages incurred due to compromised information if a company does not obtain the new device or otherwise update its credit card terminal.

Companies have until October to make the switch, and for larger companies, the transition will most likely take place. Small business owners, however, may decide that any additional costs are not worth it. For instance, a company that does business primarily online may not have much of a need to accommodate in-person credit card transactions.

Up to this point, numerous small businesses have availed themselves of mobile credit card readers such as the Square. The Square itself is free, and a fee is charged based upon a percentage of each transaction. The per transaction fee is greater than most traditional credit card merchants charge, but the convenience and free equipment make it worthwhile. A new version of the Square that is compatible with the new credit card chips will be available, but for a fee.

It will be up to each Georgia business owner to decide whether the cost substantiates any new equipment purchases. It may be beneficial to have an in-depth conversation with someone knowledgeable in technology law in order to gain a thorough understanding of what is at stake. Once business owners fully understand the legal issues surrounding this new law, each of them can make a more informed decision. This is just one of many instances where not keeping up with the changes in law could be costly for a company.

Source: ABC News, "Small Businesses Have Even More Credit-Card Reader Options", Joseph Pisani, Jan. 7, 2015

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