It’s all in the (credit) cards
Banks prepare for switch to microchips

By ALEX ZANK - Daily News

Aug. 30, 2015

Oct. 1 is an important date in the United States’ transition to credit and debit cards with microchip technology.

Financial institutions are working on replacing cards with the upgraded technology. Jenny Muche, electronic banking officer with Horicon Bank, said in an email that on Oct. 1 the liability will shift to businesses if they take a counterfeit card by swiping the strip or manually entering the information if the card has the chip.

“I think all American banks will be going to this new chip-based debit card and credit card, which is what most of the world uses,” said Fred Schwertfeger, communications officer with Horicon Bank. “It’s a little bit heavier of a card, but it’s good for all of us for fraud prevention.”

This “smart card” technology is used by many other countries, and is billed as a safer alternative to the magnetic strip. The goal of the nationwide change is to protect consumers and reduce the cost of fraud.

Jamie Davis, a manager at the Corner Store in West Bend, said her card already has a microchip. She used it at a store that already upgraded the card readers and it took longer than swiping the card, she said.

Davis said she thinks this is a good improvement, especially since other countries have used this technology for years.

She said her account was hacked before, so she’s familiar with the dangers of fraud. She noticed someone stole her card information when a purchase from a store in West Allis popped up in a statement.

The Corner Store has not upgraded to payment terminals that handle the microchips yet, Davis said, but “we will do whatever is needed when needed.”

Betty Bartelt, owner of All-In Books in West Bend, said she is tired of getting phone call after phone call from companies wanting to upgrade her technology to card readers that can accommodate the microchips.

She said she has received four of them already by early Friday afternoon.

Bartelt uses PayPal, wielding a small smartphone attachment to swipe cards’ magnetic strips, because she sells a lot at flea markets.

She hopes she can stick with the setup she has “because it’s the way we’ve been doing business,” she said.

Reach reporter Alex Zank at