The United States is pretty much the last horse to cross the finish line when it comes to implementing EMV tech into credit and debit cards. Most major international markets have used the chip-and-PIN system for a while now, with cards that ditch the magnetic stripe and use a chip on the front of the card to communicate with readers. Among other things, that means merchants need new readers.
The switch is happening because the EMV cards are thought to be more secure than those with magnetic stripes, because they can’t be counterfeited as easily. Granted, EMV cards have their own security flaws, but hey, what new technology doesn’t? Regardless, the change is coming, and if you’ve had to get a new credit or debit card recently, you might already have an EMV card yourself.
Anyone who uses a Square reader to process payments needs to take note. Right now, if a counterfeit card goes through your system and gets flagged later, the bank eats the cost. That will change in October of next year—if you process a counterfeit EMV card, but aren’t equipped with an EMV card reader, the cost falls to you. Fortunately, that’s over a year away, which is really good, because Square doesn’t actually have their EMV readers ready to go yet. You can sign up to be notified when they are ready, which is a good idea. Might as well be prepared for the inevitable.