Credit-Card Processing: Planning for the Future

22 Jan 2014 By Roger Devine

Over the next 20 months or so, most merchants in the United States who accept credit-card transactions will be upgrading their card-reading equipment, to enable them to accept cards that store the cardholder information on an embedded chip, rather than a magnetic stripe. (Anyone who has traveled in Europe in the past could of years will likely have some familiarity with this.) Every player in the credit-card industry - the processors, gateway providers, hardware companies, merchants, and cardholders - will be under pressure to upgrade their pieces of the pie. Unfortunately, information from the processors, hardware companies, and gateways as to how they plan to make these transitions is spotty at best.

What does that mean to our little corner of the universe? Primarily, that the credit-card readers we currently rent and sell will become less attractive to use: they won’t work with all cards, and after October 2015, using them will shift additional liability onto the merchant (the org running the auction). We’re looking for cost-effective replacement card-readers, and as soon as we find ones that we think will work for auction customers, we’ll start working to replace our current swipers.

The one area of card transactions that is unaffected by this change is card-not-present transactions - a/k/a e-commerce. For us, this points to the most certain strategic path for the next 2-3 years. Cardholder-entered numbers will continue to be accepted and processed the way they are today, and the liability rules (as far as we know today) will stay constant.

To address this (and other benefits), we have already implemented two features that make it easier for you, the auction-running organization, to securely store more guest card data without using swipers at check-in:

  • At the end of the online registration process, guests can opt to save the card number they are using to purchase their tickets, for use on event night.
  • The new Advance Check-In feature allows you to ask your guests to type in their own card number from their home computer, before coming to the event

Right now, use of these features should be considered optional (and for us auction geeks, fun!), but over the course of the coming year, your team should begin setting an expectation with your guests that they will be asked to enter their card numbers before the event, rather than presenting them at the event.

You can trust us to stay on top of all forthcoming developments on this front, and as we revise strategies we’ll be sure to keep you up to date.