Following the deadline for U.S. businesses to accept EMV credit and debit card transactions or face liability for fraud, many of America’s small and mid-sized businesses are unprepared and at risk. Sterling Payment Technologies, which has helped thousands of businesses with EMV solutions, announced an innovative protection program to support those still working toward EMV acceptance.

Sterling, a leading provider of electronic payment services with deep ties to the restaurant, hospitality and retail industries, announced its no-cost EMV protection program, which will cover businesses unprepared for yesterday’s EMV credit card liability shift for up to $2,000 in fraudulent charges as they work to implement a compliant processing system.

After yesterday, U.S. businesses will face liability for many fraudulent charges made with “magnetic stripe” credit or debit cards that were counterfeited, lost or stolen. The shift toward EMV cards, which contain a computer chip, is designed to reduce fraud where cards are used in person (or “card-present”) by making such cards much more difficult to produce or fraudulently use. A July Wells Fargo survey indicated that less than half of small business owners were aware of the shift, let alone prepared.

“Our business is built around providing small and mid-sized businesses with the same payments capabilities and management intelligence that larger companies enjoy,” says Paul Hunter, president and CEO of Sterling Payment Technologies. “The transition to EMV cards has put these businesses at a disadvantage. We’re launching this program to provide customers with peace of mind as they transition to the right EMV solution to meet their specific payment needs.”

Sterling’s protection plan will apply to both current and new clients in a wide range of industries and geographies across the United States. Eligible businesses will automatically receive the protection plan as they work with Sterling or an authorized reseller to implement an EMV-ready payments system. Merchants processing “card-not-present” transactions, such as mail order, telephone order, and Internet merchants, are not affected.

For some small businesses, the EMV transition can be as simple as replacing or upgrading existing equipment and software to read the chip-enabled cards. But many restaurants, bars, retailers, and other businesses depend on more sophisticated point-of-sale (POS) systems to manage not only payments, but also critical business functions like inventory, scheduling, and promotions.

“We’re hoping the protection program prevents business owners from hastily adding EMV and ending up with a less-than-perfect solution for their business,” Hunter says. “By providing coverage past the deadline, we can help ensure that anyone unprepared is evaluating the best options, taking the right path to compliance, and adding business intelligence.”

The program provides similar peace of mind for Sterling’s POS reseller partners, who can extend the program to their customers as they work to develop and implement ideal EMV solutions.

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