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Gas stations must install chip readers by 2020 or become liable for skimmers

Liability for fraud will shift in 2020
Posted at 7:43 AM, Oct 16, 2017

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Expect to continue swiping credit cards at gas pumps across the United States. Banks and credit card companies delayed implementing a new policy that would encourage gas stations to install chip readers at pumps.

The policy states the party with the least compliant chip technology is liable for refunding any fraudulent transactions.

The policy took effect at ATMs last year and was supposed to apply at gas stations beginning this month. But now, gas station owners have until October 2020 to upgrade their pumps before being held liable.

“These are pumps with devices that are embedded inside of them. If you look around, there's a lot of older gas pumps that are out there, and those pumps, in a lot of cases, have to be completely replaced,” explained Cathy Keeling, the senior vice president at Security Bank of Kansas City.

New terminals at gas pumps can cost between $500 and $1,000 each, according to Keeling.

Even with the new October 2020 deadline, gas stations are not required to install card readers at pumps, Keeling says. The move would just protect them from liability.

In the meantime, there's still a few things drivers can do to protect themselves at the gas pump. Make sure the pump looks like all the others at a gas station, and make sure the tape around the credit card slot isn’t torn. 

"You can still pay inside — a lot of those merchants do have EMV [chip reading] terminals inside. I know it's less convenient to do that, but it's a safer way to do it; go in and pay in advance," Keeling added.