Small Business Saturday is this weekend – are you EMV chip card ready?

The Superbowl of a small business’ year is this Saturday, November 28. Among Small Business Saturday Small Business Saturday shoppers, 45 percent plan to spend more this year than they did in 2014, according to a survey conducted for American Express and the National Federation of Independent Businesses. Last year, approximately $14.3 billion was spent on Small Business Saturday, alone.

This year’s event is expected to draw larger crowds than ever, many of whom will be armed with EMV chip-enabled cards that virtually eliminate the risk of card-present fraud.

Across the country, financial institutions have begun implementing EMV chip-enabled cards. In turn, retailers have begun to implement credit card machines capable of completing transactions with EMV cards carrying chips that encode data for each individual transaction, preventing data breaches.

While banks are working around the clock to get these cards in the hands of consumers, not everyone has a chip-enabled card yet, and more than 64 percent of retailers reportedly have not implemented the necessary technology. Consumers must as always, remain vigilant.

Visa and Mastercard issued rules and guidelines for processors and merchants to support chip technology, including a liability shift that took place Oct. 1. Historically, banks have been responsible for covering the cost of counterfeit fraud, but now the party that has not upgraded its technology will be responsible. If neither party has done so, the liability is the same as it was before Oct. 1. As always, customers are insulated from any losses.

Customers who don’t yet have their EMV-chip card can request one from their financial institution – though they are still able to use existing magnetic swipe cards, even at EMV-chip enabled terminals.

“This technology should give customers greater confidence using their payment cards at registers across the country,” said Don Childears, president and CEO of the Colorado Bakers Association.

Nearly 600 million chip-enabled cards are expected to be issued in the United States by the end of this year. While implementing EMV technology is an increased expense for card issuers and merchants that accept payment cards, doing so is a necessary step to ensure the financial safety of customers, Childears added. “This system is another opportunity for banks, payment networks, retailers and consumers to work as a team to fight fraud,” he said.