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Card machines: FAQs your customers want answers to

EFTPOS_ProductsServices_mPOSBanner1With the evolution of alternative payment options, cash is no longer the only means of payment for goods and services. Many people opt for using credit or debit cards instead of carrying large wads of cash around for their purchases. While it makes business sense to have card machines, it still carries its risks, notably for customers. Here’s some questions your customers may ask you about card machines, and here’s how to answer them.


What is card skimming and how can it be prevented?

Card skimming is the illegal copying of information from the magnetic strip of a credit or debit card, which is then used for fraudulent purposes. There are a few card skimming methods, but the most common are cloning a card with the victim’s details and then running up account charges or, using a skimming device on handheld card machines to copy information. This skimming device could also be stand-alone, and the scammer could run a card through it when the victim is not looking.


There are a few ways people can prevent their card from being skimmed on card machines. Awareness is key, and so if a customer must hand their card over, they should keep their eyes on it. If a customer feels any suspicion about card machines, they should notify someone immediately. Luckily, card payment technology has evolved to ensure safety and security. Magstripe cards, which can be easily skimmed, are being replaced by chip and PIN cards.


Should one upgrade to a chip and PIN card?

Traditional cards with magstripes at the back, are prone to scams. The newer EMV cards are safer because they have chips. Each time these cards are used, a unique transaction code is created that cannot be used again. Magnetic stripes, however, contain unchanging data, making them more vulnerable to counterfeiting. EMV technology will not prevent all data breeches from occurring, but it will make it harder for criminals to use stolen data.


What happens if a card is  defrauded?

In the unfortunate incident of being defrauded after using a credit or debit card, you may be able to get the money refunded through the payment processor or issuing bank, depending on terms and conditions.  According to Payments Association of South Africa (PASA), if a customer is sure that their card was fraudulently used, the issuing bank would generally request a dispute in writing. The bank may then institute a charge-back process. Be aware that the issuing bank may levy a charge for this service.

Can a merchant charge an additional amount should a customer choose to pay with a credit card?

PASA states that a merchant may not put a surcharge on any credit card transaction. The amount charged should match the advertised price.

What are the benefits of using a credit or debit card?

Credit and debit card issuers offer additional services such as enhanced protection in case of loss or fraud and even extended warranties on goods purchased. In addition, some banks offer reward programmes: FNB for example rewards customers with eBucks every time they swipe their cards.

How else do you ensure that your customers’ card information is safe?

A business can assure its customers that their information is safe by ensuring that the card machine is a secure and effective point of sale device. Therefore it’s important that businesses select a credible card machine vendor. Businesses should familiarise themselves with the vendor’s products in terms of quality, security and support.

A card machine vendor should adhere to the PCI DSS compliance code. Compliance with PCI DSS, version 3 means that explicit requirements and procedures to protect the cardholder have been met. It ensures that service providers are operating in accordance with best practice guidelines for security and that all instances of cardholder data are properly identified and documented. EFTPOS , for instance, has followed PCI DSS compliance since 2011.