Merchant services

Merchant Responsibilities When Accepting Non-EMV Credit Cards

accepting credit card responsibiltiesThere are a number of responsibilities to consider when accepting credit and debit cards at your place of business. As a merchant, you are responsible for proper and secure practices when your customers or clients are using their credit cards to make a purchase or payment to ensure their credit card information is secure.

Download "The new wave of payment technology: The rise of smart terminals" to  learn more about the credit card machines of the future!

But what happens with a customer wants to use a non-EMV credit card, meaning they want to use a swipe card with no pin. This has come up as a problem for some merchant who may not be able to ensure that the card being used belongs to the customer using it.

Below are a few helpful tips to guide you in your responsibilities as a merchant when accepting non-EMV credit cards at your place of business.

Merchant Responsibilities

The recent liability shift from credit card companies to merchants, that came with the transition to new EMV or “chip and pin” cards, has had an impact on every merchant’s POS practices within the merchant services industry. A merchant’s liability for fraudulent transactions is no longer the same as it was before the shift. Prior to the liability switch, all customers paid with “swipe and sign” magnetic strip credit cards. As a merchant, being aware of your responsibilities when accepting credit card transactions will help you to avoid being held responsible for fraudulent purchases under these new terms.


The first thing to be aware of is if you, the merchant, now accept a “chip and pin” card without capturing the customer’s pin, you will be held liable if that purchase turns out to be fraudulent. The liability lies solely on your secure transaction practices.

This applies even if your business has not yet installed EMV-enabled POS terminals. You will also be held liable for fraudulent purchases made with “chip and pin” equipped cards because you will be unable to capture your customers’ pins. This is an important facet of your business. You not only need to protect your business from chargebacks, but also protect your customers card information, make sure that you have done your due diligence in processing credit card transactions.

Non-EMV Credit Cards

Even after you have invested the time and resources installing EMV-equipped payment terminals, you may still have customers that want to pay with a magnetic strip card that is not equipped with EMV technology. Many cardholders are still being transitioned to EMV cards. The transition is expected to be completed by the end of 2013. As long as you have a payment terminal that accommodates EMV technology and the card issuer does not pay with a “chip and pin” card, you will not be liable if that purchase is fraudulent.

In other words, the liability falls on the card issuer for not distributing a chip and pin card. This does not mean you are exempt from secure credit card transaction processes. When accepting magnetic stripe cards, your staff must still capture cardholder signatures and verify them, visually inspect the cards to determine whether they are genuine and take all the required steps to ensure that the card is authentic, and that the individual paying with the card is the rightful owner.

This is also relevant to the many Canadian businesses that regularly serve American customers. Remember, so far there has been no credit card liability shift for U.S. customers. Their magnetic strip cards can continue to be processed the same way they were before the Canadian liability shift. Be aware of your credit card transaction processes. Ensure your payment terminals are EMV certified and PCI compliant, and follow safe practices when processing credit card transactions with non-chip credit cards.


Text Size

Matt Moore

As the President and Co-Founder of BNA Smart Payment Systems, Matt is responsible for the company’s strategic direction, daily operations, and growth. Entrepreneurial by nature, he brings a wealth of sales and marketing experience earned from over 36 years in business. He has developed, implemented, and directed international sales and marketing strategies, established strategic alliances with international companies, and demonstrated leadership in the electronic payments market. Prior to BNA, Matthew served at the senior levels of major EFT/POS companies, helping them increase sales and optimize customer service. Matt is also a father of three, a fitness enthusiast who does power lifting and CrossFit, and he enjoys weekends at the cottage.

Find Matt Moore on:

Subscribe to our blog