Close-up view of chase EMV chip credit card

EMV and the Challenges that Face Payment Processing

Close-up view of chase EMV chip credit card

EMV and the Challenges that Face Payment Processing

In order for a business to run successfully, the simple act of paying for a product or a service using a credit card or a debit card should be efficient, fast, and most importantly, safe. And because it is money that is at stake here, there are a lot of regulations in place to make sure that the processing of payments using a card is safe and secure. One of the ways that makes card payments more secure is the EMV technology, where payment cards used in an ATM and POS terminals have been embedded with microchips. This form of payment technology has long been in use and is widely accepted in many regions such as Europe, Canada, and Asia Pacific. Ironically, the US – considered to have the largest number of plastic card users – is one of the countries that have not – yet – fully optimized this otherwise global standard.

The Advantages of EMV

Note that an EMV-embedded chip is a lot more secure than the traditional magnetic stripe method, especially when it comes to face-to-face credit/debit card transactions. Theft and credit card fraud is rampant now more than ever, but using this embedded chip has added another layer of protection against consumer fraud. Once the card has been inserted into a terminal, the payment will then be authenticated and processed using the EMV network. Also, the chip contained within the card is hard to duplicate, making it very hard for swindlers to duplicate your customer’ cards.

What Does This Mean for You?

If you are in the process of upgrading your accepted payment methods, it is important that your POS terminal also be equipped with an EMV chip card reader. You will create more credibility and garner more customers in the marketplace by utilizing this more safe and secure payment method. There will be increased consumer confidence which will drive up more sales and increase your profits in the long run.

What Happens When You Don’t Update

There have been changes made to the EMV Liability Shift. Currently, if a payment processing transaction has been approved and it turns out to be fraud, the card issuer is the one that absorbs the loss. With the new rule, however, liability shifts to the merchant who has not implemented the EMV technology. If and when fraud happens, the responsibility falls on the party who makes the transaction – which means YOU, the business owner.

How to Prepare Your Business for EMV Migration

All you have to do is update your card reader. It’s that simple. If you upgraded your POS recently, then your terminal is most likely already EMV-ready. Whatever the case may be, all you have to do is contact CoCard and we’ll help you understand what changes you need to make to prepare your business for the EMV migration.

Improving on your current payment processing system is not that complicated – and with CoCard’s help you will be able to implement EMV into your business.

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Five Tips for POS Security

NMPL5377-1024x682-1024x682Point of Sales security is always a relevant issue for a merchant services provider. With the recent string of data breaches that have happened to well-known businesses like Target and Verizon, there are plenty of reasons to feel like your POS’s security system may not be up to snuff.

Although hackers are becoming better each day at getting access to essential data, there are multitudes of ways to help toughen the process for a determined hacker. The two major forms of hacking involve either the use of an attachable hardware device to the POS system, or using malware to hack into a POS network. Although there is no surefire way to prevent either of these things from happening, here are five tips that will help improve the security of your POS system.

  1. Always maintain the most up-to-date POS software.

POS system updates can be a drag, but oftentimes these updates provide crucial security patches that ward off malware and other hacking technology. Rather than updating technology quarterly, update the technology as frequently as possible. It’s hard to stay a step ahead of cybercriminals, but if you’re always improving, it makes the task more difficult.

CoCard provides cutting-edge POS services, featuring top-notch security and management tools.

  1. Install Firewall and Anti-Virus Software to boost your network’s immunity.

Similar to keeping up-to-date POS Software, installing new Firewall/Anti-virus software is critical. It adds an extra dimension to the security system already in place at your firm, and puts yet another wall between you and a potential hacker. Programs like Barracuda and McAfee are good choices.

  1. Create intricate passwords that are frequently changed.

This is an extremely overlooked habit that should always be practiced. Many times, hackers have no problem getting past security systems because the passwords in place are entirely too simple and intuitive. Always change from the default password that was provided for your system, and never make it something simple like “Password1” or your birth date. Find something that isn’t easily guessed, and change the password frequently, preferably every two or three months.

  1. Deny internet access from POS Stations and Terminals.

Keeping POS computers off the internet vastly reduces the risk of viruses and other internet-based malware. Only connect your system to the internet for necessary POS activities, and avoid general internet usage. Don’t give a hacker the chance to get to you by staying clear of their sights.

  1. Disable Remote Access.

Although we get accustomed to allowing IT professionals and employees to use the POS system from remote locations (not necessarily in office), hackers have a far easier time finding your device’s information when it is used away from a terminal. Restrict access to programs as much as possible, and you have vastly decreased your risk for hacking.

Although none of these solutions are fool-proof, they are steps that over time can make a big difference in your program’s safety. When thousands of potential clients’ credit information is in your hands, why take the risk? Just like you take vitamins to protect your immune system, take precautions to protect your POS system!

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Merchants Show Increased Demand for Integrated POS

NMPL5275-1024x682-1024x6821-1024x682Basic processing systems will no longer cut it in the payment processing industry. A terminal is viewed as the bare minimum in today’s market, and merchants are finding it more necessary to integrate multiple technologies in their software applications. Now merchants are able to run their entire business and collect payments on the same device.

Aside from the decrease in technology prices, tablet technology now allows merchants to get all of the products they normally couldn’t afford in one simple tool. When this is coupled with the fact that merchants are becoming more skilled and innovative in the payment industry, it becomes apparent that tablet based systems is the answer to all payment processing problems.

POS systems used to cost thousands of dollars, but now with integrated technology, merchants are able to afford the programming with rates as low as $50 a month. Also, the fact that different merchants required varied solutions gives more power to integrated POS systems. Systems that cover more bases and provide more solutions are being created on a more frequent basis, and industry specific tools are developing rapidly.

Because the industry standard for tools has changed so much, it is more important than ever that your POS system is top of the line. CoCard not only provides state of the art POS programming for tablets and devices, but also has a mobile payment application called ‘CCMobile’ that completely integrates a merchant’s business transaction data. Whether your business is in retail, restaurants, or any other industry specific trade, allow CoCard to provide cutting-edge POS solutions to simplify your daily process and reduce expenses. Call us for more information!

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silver American express chip card shown dipped, or being processed, in an emv terminal

Are You Ready for EMV?

silver American express chip card shown dipped, or being processed, in an emv terminalYou are probably hearing a lot about EMV in the news and maybe even receiving a few scary calls from merchant service providers who imply that EMV has something to do with PCI Compliance.  For the record EMV has NOTHING to do with PCI Compliance and no matter what software you are running on your POS COCARD can manage your EMV. Relax, COCARD is ready for EMV and we are here to help YOU be ready too.

A little background: EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa; it is the global standard for cards equipped with computer chips and the technology used to authenticate chip-card transactions.  Have you heard about all the data breaches in the last few years? EMV is the card association’s answer to these breaches, the technology has been used in Europe for more than 10 years and they have seen a drastic reduction in credit card fraud.

What happens?

In the beginning your exposure will be minimal because the only liability for fraud will be with cards that have chips implanted.  However, as time goes on, and if EMV becomes the new standard, your exposure will increase. If a chip card is used at a business that has not changed its system to accept chip technology and this chip card is fraudulent then the counterfeit card can be successfully used and cost of this fraud will fall back on the merchant.

What does this new technology mean to your business?

The switch to EMV means adding a new in-store technology to your current processing system or not.  Chances are you may already be EMV ready but in either case don’t worry, COCARD is here to help! Most importantly the EMV technology means greater protection against fraud in your business.

For ongoing updates and the most current information about EMV, PCI, card association updates and fraud alerts like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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Clover, a point of sale system which accepts contactless payments and EMV cards, shown in white with receipt printer and barcode scanner.

Feeling Lucky? Try Clover!

Clover, a point of sale system which accepts contactless payments and EMV cards, shown in white with receipt printer and barcode scanner.

At CoCard, we’re devoted to making sure our clients find the POS systems best suited to their needs. So we’re thrilled to be adding the Clover POS system to our roster of services! In case you’re unfamiliar, a Clover Station is a cash register, terminal and POS system in one that allows business owners to accomplish a range of tasks within one inclusive system. With Clover, you can track your inventory, view reports, and manage employees, while juggling various other tasks. While this system can certainly be implemented at numerous business types, CoCard finds that Clover is the best fit for quick-service restaurants, full-service restaurants and specialty retailers. Thinking about switching? Call us at 1.800.317.1819 or drop us a quick line at sales@cocard.info.

SEE THE CLOVER POS HERE

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Hacker Alert:

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In case you missed the news at the beginning of this month, in early August, a Russian crime ring collected the largest known cluster of Internet credentials to date, which included 1.2 billion user name and password combos and more than 500 million email addresses in a mega-security breach. Milwaukee’s Hold Security discovered the violation and says the security breach affected several large businesses, but was unable to share the names of those affected due to nondisclosure agreements and victim security. The hackers cast a wide net, going after large and small business websites alike in countries around the globe—including the United States and Russia. According to an August 5 New York Times article, it appears the hackers haven’t sold much of the data, but are instead using this hacked info to send spam through social media sites, like Twitter for a fee. This article identifies the hacking ring as a small group of less than a dozen men in their 20s, based in south central Russia.

While it’s always troubling to hear news like this, don’t panic. Instead, tighten your Internet security measures. Ensure that you’re using strong passwords and that you’re utilizing different passwords on different websites. If you know you’re guilty of being lax with your passwords (or use the same ones on multiple sites), updating them to stronger passwords is a good idea. You may also want to check out one of the automated password changing services out there, like this free one, to ensure you’re keeping hackers on their toes.

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Merchants Show Increased Demand for Integrated POS

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Basic processing systems will no longer cut it in the payment processing industry. A terminal is viewed as the bare minimum in today’s market, and merchants are finding it more necessary to integrate multiple technologies in their software applications. Now merchants are able to run their entire business and collect payments on the same device.

Aside from the decrease in technology prices, tablet technology now allows merchants to get all of the products they normally couldn’t afford in one simple tool. When this is coupled with the fact that merchants are becoming more skilled and innovative in the payment industry, it becomes apparent that tablet based systems is the answer to all payment processing problems.

POS systems used to cost thousands of dollars, but now with integrated technology, merchants are able to afford the programming with rates as low as $50 a month. Also, the fact that different merchants required varied solutions gives more power to integrated POS systems. Systems that cover more bases and provide more solutions are being created on a more frequent basis, and industry specific tools are developing rapidly.

Because the industry standard for tools has changed so much, it is more important than ever that your POS system is top of the line. CoCard not only provides state of the art POS programming for tablets and devices, but also has a mobile payment application called ‘CCMobile’ that completely integrates a merchant’s business transaction data. Whether your business is in retail, restaurants, or any other industry specific trade, allow CoCard to provide cutting-edge POS solutions to simplify your daily process and reduce expenses. Call us for more information!

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Opposing Bitcoin Regulations Could Impede Currency Expansion

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According to Payment Source, the state of New York Department of Payment Services recently proposed the framework for ‘BitLicense’, a money transfer license pertaining to businesses that use Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Although this proposal still has yet to be approved, the potential effects could alter the course of Bitcoin’s use nationally.

The proposed Bitcoin license would require state businesses to not only provide full customer disclosure, but also transaction receipts, a complaint resolution center, and user account verification. A cyber security program is also a requirement of the proposal, with heavy emphasis on record keeping ot be spearheaded by a chief information security officer.

When this proposal is placed in comparison to more liberal Bitcoin states like Texas, there is an extreme conflict in both interest and practice; Texas’ current Bitcoin laws make the currency an unofficial form of payment that is unregulated by the market. Bitcoin is not treated as real money, but can be used for goods, services, and currency exchange would still follow state law. With varying forms of enforcement for this controversial cryptocurrency, it leaves many wondering which the best course is for the future.

The new proposal is not yet active, and must be voted on by state businesses interested in transmitting Bitcoin. The voting period began July 23, 2014, and will continue for 45 days.

Although these new regulations only apply to New York for the time being, it is still a largely relevant issue because a majority of New York’s financial policy acts as a model for the national industry. Also, any customer not based in New York would still likely feel the effects of the legislation because any and all Bitcoin transactions/advertisements that go through New York’s financial industry will still have to be regulated.

New York’s new license proposal would likely deter many businesses, simply to avoid the hassle of registering for a license. Although Bitcoin miners themselves would remain unaffected, businesses would not only have to report all Bitcoin activity on a daily basis, but also be subject to independent investigation by the Department of Financial Services.

The proposed changes to the Bitcoin market vary extensively from many of the current practices on a national level, although it may not be all bad; these changes can significantly reduce the risk of money laundering, Bitcoin thievery, and overall illicit financial activities that could otherwise be disguised through Bitcoin. The tradeoff is that many companies are more than likely not looking to go through the steps to obtain a license, especially when it is subject to so many regulations. Will this have an overall negative effect on the national Bitcoin market? Will other states follow suit? We will all soon have answers once voting is concluded.

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Bitcoin Seeks to Expand ATM Services

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New Bitcoin ATMs continue to propel the currency forward

Bitcoin payment is still a highly controversial topic; many people don’t know what to make of it, many see it as illegitimate, and many don’t know what it is at all. Although it receives mixed reviews from economists and investors alike, the continued expansion of Bitcoin usage has caused an entirely new payment industry to arise.

As many people know, Bitcoin is a digital payment system that can be exchanged as a form of cryptocurrency. Individually valued at hundreds of USD per coin, the exchange of coins for goods, services, and even paper money has become a point of interest. In the wake of this increased interest, Lamassu Inc. has moved forward in the production of Bitcoin ATMs.

Lamassu has developed new software named Rakia, which will allow its operators to provide remittance services, bill payments and airport cash exchange. Lamassu Bitcoin machines originally only allowed users to exchange their paper money to buy Bitcoins, but since May, users have been able to receive cash in exchange for coins as well.

The software is open source, and developers are able to work with Rakia to further improve its functionality. Lamassu also keeps the Bitcoin theme of decentralization alive, allowing operators to personally decide their prices, commission rates, and partners.

Bitcoin continues to strengthen its argument as a legitimate currency with its innovate technologies. Does this mean that eventually Bitcoin may become the real deal? Comment and let us know!

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Major tech companies push for legislative reform of NSA’s accessibility laws

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With the continued expansion of internet prevalence in our everyday lives, it’s becoming harder each day to escape the ever-watching eyes of “Big Brother”. “Big Brother” is an idiomatic term that refers to government surveillance powers that oversee our actions on an everyday basis, the most relevant example in this instance being the NSA.

The NSA has recently experienced a significant amount of backlash from major tech companies because of its invasive and disturbing policies for mass data collection. A year after agency contractor Edward Snowden’s leak of private documents, executives from nine major tech companies (AOL, Dropbox, Google, Apple, Yahoo!, LinkedIn, Twitter, Microsoft, Facebook) sent a letter to the Senate demanding a reform of internet privacy and security laws.

Specifically, Microsoft sounded off about the changes in legislation that they would like to see, in reference to cyber-spying and data hacking. One of their main gripes was towards the security of cloud-based services, and the lack of certainty behind the protection of their documents and information. Microsoft claims that the government has “intercepted data traveling across the internet”, and “hacked links between company data centres” (www.thegaurdian.com).

Microsoft has a strong call to action, with five specific desires:

  1. Recognize that U.S. search warrants do not have jurisdiction outside of the U.S.
  2. End bulk-collection of data (phone records, email records)
  3. Commit to the ending of large scale data centre hacking
  4. Reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court, which makes its rulings in private.
  5. Improve transparency in terms of exactly what rights the government has to information and records.

It’s no secret that the government watches over us and keeps an eye out for suspicious activity. Many people understand and accept that it is for the greater good, but a great many (me included) believe that it is a serious breach of our Constitutional rights. With the constant increase in web/cloud based technology that businesses use for records, it’s a scary thought knowing that your business’s private information is always at the fingertips of the government; with little to no control over what the government can do or take from us, how much power do the people really have? Is the internet just another way for the government to control us? How do you think the government’s aggressive interference with private information will affect businesses in the future? Reply and let us know!

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