Woman using a credit card machine

Have you recieved your new credit card terminal yet?  The deadline to have one was in October, however, many practices are still waiting on the vendors to provide new terminals.

I have to admit, I was confused by this regulation until my good friend, Kerry Diebold at First Data took a few minutes to explain to me why this is needed and where the liability actually lies.

The short version is that when you swipe a credit or debit card, the credit card processor is on the hook for fraudulent charges.  Let’s say you have a new paient that isn’t who they say they are and are using a stolen or spoofed card to obtain services.  Prior to October, the processor would be laible for paying you those charges.  After October, if you don’t have the chip reader (and use it) and that same person comes in and fraudulently charges a card, you are on the hook for paying those charges.

Now you have to keep in mind that you are a much lower risk for fruad than a grocery store, retail store or restaurant becuase you typically know all of your patients and can verify their identity.  You can also ask to check their ID – just in case.

Some credit card processors have delayed deployment of new terminals because they weren’t ready and became overwhelmed with orders.  I’ve even heard some processors claim to cover the cost of fraudulent charges while you are waiting for your terminal.  There’s no way to know if they actually will, but it’s a good gesture.

On a tech note:  new terminals will require an ethernet cable to work.  Most of the old terminals would work on a phone/fax line, but the new ones won’t.  We have had a lot of frantic calls from offices that need to process payments, but can’t because the processor neglected to tell them to make a dedicated network cable available.  In fact, a lot of offices were never wired to have printers, credit card machines or IP phones at the front desk – but that’s a post for another day.