Are retailers ready for the new chip card technology?

FRESNO, Calif. -- A tiny chip in your credit card is the latest tool to combat financial fraud. Retailers across the country and here in the Valley are scrambling to install the right equipment to process these new cards.

The deadline for businesses to comply is this Thursday. That's when the liability for any fraud shifts from banks to businesses.

When Kevin Large took over ownership at Beautiwood Unfinished Furniture in North Fresno, one of the first orders of business for him and his wife Jennifer was to upgrade their card reader at the register.

Jennifer says it was pretty easy to do: "Honestly there isn't a really big change, except the way you're gonna insert the card into the machine and maybe some wait time."

The way it works: Instead of swiping the card like a traditional transaction, customers leave their card in the new machine until it can create a unique code for that purchase. It can't be duplicated by criminals like magnetic strips can.

The Larges wanted to make sure to have the new chip reader in place before the October 1st deadline. That's when the liability for any fraud shifts to the business, not the bank. Jennifer says that was an extra incentive, "We're a small business so something like a little fraud, a lotta fraud is gonna hit us hard and we really wanna protect our customers as well."

Meantime, financial institutions are busy preparing to roll out the new cards for their members. Keri Bennett, an official at a Fresno credit union, explains, "We know it's in the best interest of our members to add that extra layer of security. So for us, we're rolling out our cards pretty soon, within the next month or so our cardholders will start to be getting their cards."

She points out that the chip alone won't make your card entirely safe. Thieves can still copy credit numbers and use those stolen numbers online.

"No technology is foolproof but this is a much bigger step to protecting our members and our consumers' information."
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