My Credit Card is FLAT!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Has it happened to you yet?  You order your replacement credit card and when it arrives in the mail- it looks totally different! 

This past week, our new Discover card arrived and when we opened the envelope, we were greeted by a FLAT credit card with no numbers and not even our name on the front of the card!  Thinking there had been an error, I called the service department and soon found that my call was similar to the other calls the service rep was fielding that day!  "Have you looked at the back of the card?" he said.  I peeled the card off the paper and found the card number and our name printed on the back of the card.

The service rep went on to tell me that this is the newest design for Discover and pretty soon all of their cards will be like this.  He referenced the chip and the ability to read the information from the card and the added security of the card because it was unembossed.
Then it hit me- what about our merchants? Taking an imprint of a credit card is sometimes necessary to prove that the business owner had permission to use the card when electronic means of processing are not available for whatever reason.  Here are a few tips for dealing with UNEMBOSSED credit cards!  
  • The card must be read electronically  Unembossed cards must be swiped or dipped (the chip) through your terminal to prove that the card was present at the time of the transaction. An unembossed card should not be used if you cannot read the card electronically.
  • Other Forms of Payments Merchants should ask for another form of payment if they are not able to read unembossed cards electronically.  In some cases, it might be helpful to actually post a sign indicating the way you will handle these types of cards.
  • Cardholder name Some card issuers still put the name of the cardholder on the front of the card and others (like our Discover card) place the name on the back of the card.
  • Other card features These flat cards do have other security features, looking for these and making sure the cards have not been tampered with is an important part of proper card acceptance.

Chip: if the card has a chip and it appears to be tampered with in any way, do not accept the card
CVV: the 3 digit code on the back of the card (in the signature panel) should be legible
Signature Panel: the card should be signed by the cardholder
(the card is not valid if it is not signed). If someone tries to 'wash' the card, the signature panel will typically list VOID

The world may not be FLAT but your new credit card may be!  As consumers, it is a good idea to be familiar with the features of the umembossed or FLAT credit cards.  As business owners, it is equally important to be aware of the FLAT cards and the right way to accept them.

Cheri Perry 3/5/2017

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