Local merchants struggle to meet credit card processing deadline

Merchants are supposed to have machines that process new, more-secure credit cards at registers by October 1, but some are struggling to meet that deadline. 

"We've been working on trying to get the proper machines," said Chris Hughes. 

His family has run Track Shack on Mills Avenue in Orlando for about 30 years. 

Track Shack has one new credit card reader.  It processes the chip-enabled cards that are replacing the ones with magnetic strips. 

"The chip is making these cards much more secure and that's a benefit to a consumer," Hughes said.

Hughes had expected to have three of the machines in store before the October 1, but it has been a hassle to get them from some credit card processing companies.   

The Florida Retail Federation reports that as many as 75% of their members don’t have the machines yet. 

"As of tomorrow, October 1, the liability is on the merchant.  So if they're not accepting chip-based credit cards, which is [also known as] EMV technology, then any fraudulent activity that happens at their store, they're liable for,” said Suneera Madhani, the CEO of credit card processing company FattMerchant. 

FattMerchant has been providing its clients with the new machines for free for over a year.

Madhani said the stakes are high for retailers. 

“The average cost of a breach is over $30,000 for a business, which can put a business out of business essentially, “ she said. 

On top of that, if stores don’t have the machines customers remain open to the credit card fraud that the chip technology is supposed to help eliminate. 

"We're the last country in the world to get EMV.  It's been around for a long time and 50 percent of all fraudulent activity that takes place in the world takes place in the United States," Madhani said.