Data breaches at companies like Target and Staples have been making headlines lately, but you don't have to be a big retailer to feel the effects of credit card fraud. No matter how small your business is, you could still be at risk — and dealing with fraud can be incredibly costly.
In fact, in 2013, the cost of recovering from credit and debit card fraud increased to $11 billion, up from $8 billion in 2012, according to a report from research company Javelin Strategy & Research.
That's why credit card giant American Express is working to keep small businesses and their customers secure. The company's new Small Merchant EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) Assistance Program aims to combat fraud by driving small-merchant adoption of more secure checkout terminals in the United States. [5 Tips to Prevent Credit Card Fraud ]
The program, which will launch in February 2015, will give a one-time $100 reimbursement to eligible merchants (those who have less than $3 million in annual American Express charge volume) that have upgraded their checkout terminals in order to read EMV technology. This technology, which makes transactions more secure by storing data in a chip embedded in credit and debit cards, can only be read by properly equipped terminals.
American Express started issuing EMV-enabled cards on a select basis to card members in the United States last year, and the technology is now available for card members — both consumers and small businesses — upon request. The company will also be providing educational materials for business owners and holding webinars, forums and other events as a part of this new program.
"We know, from speaking with our smallest merchants, that they are too busy running the day-to-day operations of their businesses to keep up with the constantly changing fraud landscape," said Anré Williams, president of global merchant services at American Express.
"That is why we're launching this program to help educate small merchants about point-of-sale security and offset the cost of upgrading their terminals," he said. "The program will benefit our small merchants as well as our card members, who can feel secure as they continue to support their local communities and shop small."
Originally published on Business News Daily.