Stores hope to curb credit card fraud during holiday shopping season

It's the busiest shopping day of the year but it can also be a breeding ground for identity theft and credit card fraud.

Jennifer Barker-Benfield enjoys serving her customers in her store tucked away in North Central Austin.

“We're not a big box store. We don't have doorbusters or anything like that but it's been pretty busy today, we're pleasantly surprised,” she said.

When news of the Europay Mastercard Visa chip card spread, she knew her store needed it.

“We actually are implementing it. We've been having trouble getting the machine, so it's coming,” she said.

She's among the growing number of small businesses who will use the technology. Experts say the chip card will save hassle with fraudulent charges.

“When you use it to purchase something, instead of sending all of your credit card information to the retailer, all it does is it sends one unique transaction code that is stored on the retailer's database,” Matt Schulz, Senior Industry Analyst for said.

If the thief hacks into the store's database and tries to use the card information, he cannot use it. It's like stealing an expired password. As of Oct.1, stores are now liable for any credit card fraud that goes on, making stores order the terminals as quick as they can.

“Your average mom and pop shop probably doesn't have it in yet,” Schulz said.

Barker-Benfield says she never worries about credit card fraud, but this is just an extra step to be certain.

“I certainly wouldn't want anyone in here to have their credit card information compromised,” Barker-Benfield said.

The terminals cost between $200 to $1,000, and require some extra training and software implementation.

It may be something new for Blue Velvet and other small businesses in Austin, but it's worth not having thieves steal the joy of the holidays.

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