Square Trying To Help Small Businesses Meet October Deadline For New Chip & PIN Credit Cards

Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 12.44.30 PMA survey released last week by Wells Fargo found that a majority of small business owners aren’t prepared for the October deadline to switch from traditional swipe-and-sign credit card transactions to the supposedly more secure chip-and-PIN card system. Now, one mobile payment company says it wants to take some of the burden off the shoulders of these companies by offering to pay for any charges incurred from a breach — as long as the business owner has ordered its new card reader.

Square is courting new customers by telling business owners “don’t worry” about the potentially costly liability shift that comes along with the October system switch, the Washington Post reports.

The mobile payment company says that as long as customers purchase its new chip-enabled reader it will cover all costs should it suffer a data breach while waiting for the new system to arrive.

Nearly 51% of the small business owners that took part in Wells Fargo’s survey said they were unaware that after October 1, they would be liable to cover the costs of any fraudulent transactions.

That means if a merchant is using the old swipe-and-sign system they are liable for the fraudulent charges if the customer has a chip card. Conversely, if the merchant has the proper chip-enabled system but the bank hasn’t issued a new chip card to the customer, then the bank is liable.

“Smaller businesses are often late to the game, and they suffer as a result,” Dana Wagner, Square’s general counsel, says. “This makes it cheap and simple for the corner store to have cutting-edge technology in their hands.”

Square says it has already got the ball rolling by giving away 250,000 readers to small businesses as part of an education program.

Companies that didn’t score a free reader, won’t have to break the bank in order to take Square up on its offer to cover liability costs. The readers, which are expected to ship this fall, cost $49 and the company will provide buyers a $49 credit for processing fees, the Post reports.

In addition to tackling the new chip payment processing systems, Square says its new refers will also support contact-less payments from Apple Pay, Android Pay and tap-to-pay cards.

We’re about to say ‘so long’ to the credit card swipe. Square’s trying to make that less scary. [The Washington Post]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.