Hey! must be the money! A payments primer

Casey Uncategorized

The Great Payments Shift

The terms and technology for buying and selling stuff in this Brave New World.

There’s a lot going on in the world of payments: new credit cards, Apple Pay, Google Wallet, chips, PINs, and on and on and on. You’ve heard about it, but there are enough jargon and acronyms involved to drive the savviest of technophiles crazy, though. No worries. We’re here to help.


We’ve been using credit and debit cards with magnetic stripes on the back of them for about 40 years. It’s an old technology and it’s broken. The United States is pretty much the last major market to still use magnetic stripe cards. The rest of the world has moved on to chip cards. More on that later.

Why has (almost) everybody moved away from magnetic stripe cards? Fraud. Magnetic stripe cards are easy to clone/hack/steal. Canada lost CA$245 million to credit card fraud in 2008. Then, they switched to chip cards and by 2013 the fraud had dropped to CA$111 million—more than half. By comparison, The United States had $5.3 billion in credit card fraud in 2013 and it’s rising every year. Half of the world’s credit card fraud happens in the US but we only process a quarter of the credit card transactions. That’s a big problem, but there’s a solution: chips.

On Thursday, October 1, 2015, the United States will take it first major step in moving from the old magnetic stripe cards to the new chip cards (and other new technologies: mobile payments). That’s when the “Great Liability Shift of 2015” happens. More on that later, but let’s just say that the liability shift is what you call kind of a big deal, especially to merchants.

Let’s start this off with a little bit of vocab:


Magnetic stripe cards are what you and I have in our wallets. The stripe on the back of our cards is pretty much just like the magnetic tape in an audio cassette of Michael Jackson’s Bad (which, incidentally, is his best album, but that’s a different blog post).

If you really like to nerd out, you’ll appreciate knowing that, just like a cassette, there’s a bunch of tiny flecks of iron oxide (rust) in that stripe. Your credit card number is encoded in those flecks of rust by making some flecks point up and some flecks point down. Whatever. If you don’t like to nerd out, you’ll want to know this: the data in the stripe is static.

The credit card number and other details don’t change and aren’t secure. I can steal that information with a $20 gadget I bought on eBay. Of course, I can also steal your information by taking a picture of your card with my phone or even (elementary-school-style) doing a rubbing of the numbers on the card with a piece of receipt paper and a pencil. But that’s old school; we’re talking about TECHNOLOGY here.

EMV – EMV stands for Europay-Mastercard-Visa. That’s the companies that formed a consortium to develop chip cards. But that doesn’t matter. “EMV” technology is a hard way of saying “chip” technology, so we’ll just call them chips.

Chip cards – This is a “chip.” You’ve seen them and you might have them:


The “chip” in a chip/EMV card.

That little chip stores your credit card info in it, but it’s different from the stripe. The information in the card changes over time, so your “credit card number” changes every time you use your card, and when you use your card the payment terminal checks the chip’s information with your bank’s computer to make sure it’s legit.

Dork time: Not only does the information change all the time, but it’s encrypted. If the information in the chip reads “123ABC,” the information read from the chip (and transmitted to your bank) might read something like “AB765F7a6dC66D81AEB” and only your bank has the “encryption key” to read that junk. Once it translates the code it checks to see if it’s right. If it is, the bank sends a thumbs up back to the credit card terminal and your transaction goes through and now you own a new pair of pants. Disclaimer and Debbie Downer: no encryption is perfect; everything can eventually be hacked. But in the case of these chips, it’s really hard and really time-consuming to hack it. Thus, it’s much safer.

These chips require that the card be “plunged” into the credit card terminal. It’s not wireless like NFC (See below). The use of the chip is accompanied by the customer scrawling a signature or entering a PIN (Personal Identification Number). More on that later.  This is how you plunge a chip card:


You “plunge” a chip card. It’s the same a “swiping” a magnetic stripe card, but different.

Chip transactions can be authorized with either a signature or a PIN. The US will be using chip-and-signature for a while before moving to chip-and-PIN because we’re more used to signatures. Making a chip-and-PIN credit card transaction is just like making a debit transaction, so it won’t big deal.

Fun fact: Chip-and-pin is also better. If I got my hands on your credit card I could use it and sign your name. Or Michael Jackson’s name. Or even “XOXO.” I do this all the time with my mom’s card when she asks me to do some shopping. It doesn’t matter what I sign because odds are that literally no one will ever look at that signature. Big companies don’t check signatures because it’s cheaper to just eat fraudulent charges than it is to pay people to manually check the validity of signatures.

Chips are better than magnetic stripes, and the USA is in the process of moving to chips. But, of course, there’s more going on:

NFC stand for Near Field Communication. That’s a technology for sharing information between one thing and another wirelessly–without contact. Also known as “contactless payments” or “tap-to-pay.” So, you can pay for with an NFC card (or smart phone) by just holding the card (or phone) near the payment terminal.

If you like to nerd out, you’ll be interested in knowing that this works by induction. NFC payment terminals emit a small electromagnetic field around the terminal. When you hold an NFC-enabled card (or mobile phone) near the terminal, the field energizes the NFC chip in the card (or phone) and allows the chip to transmit your info wirelessly to the terminal without having a battery in the card.

This only works over a distance of a few inches, though. Notably, the “credit card information” is always-changing and encrypted just like the information in the chips we just talked about. It’s sort of like magic money.

Mobile payments are various ways that a customer for pay for something using their smart phone (or watch!). There have been mostly proprietary software solutions from companies like PayPal, Square, Starbucks, Subway, Flint, Domino’s, and the kitchen sink. People tried a ton of different ways to do mobile payments. That was fun for us nerds, but it was kind of a mess for everybody else, though. Now on the 6th day, Google and Apple (and PayPal, et. al.) are all converging on NFC technology, and thus that is the way of the future, and it is good.

Mobile payments based on NFC are as or more secure than a chip or NFC card payment. This is primarily because, with a smart phone, you can add more layers of security. Biometric authentication (ie, a fingerprint scan) replaces a PIN and things like tokenization make it even harder to steal payment data. It’s also really convenient.

Nerd term 1: Biometrics are unique physical, biological characteristics of a person that can verify that they are indeed who they say they are. One of the most common types of biometric authentication is the finger print. Iris scans, facial recognition, voice recognition, and even palm scans have been used as well. Fingerprint scanners have gotten good enough now, though, that they are becoming the dominant method.

Nerd term 2: Tokenization is a security feature you might have heard of when Apple Pay was launched. The technology has been around for a while, but Apple improved it a little and brought it to the big stage. The technology behind tokenization is a little complicated but, in short, the token is a unique, encrypted code that gets transferred over the wires when a payment is processed. Only the payment processor can verify that it’s correct and the data is useless if it’s stolen along the way. What all this boils down to is simple: tokenization is an extra layer of security that all happens in the background so you really don’t need to worry about it. Just be glad it’s there.

Look for this logo on payment terminals. It’s the universal logo for contactless payments–both NFC and mobile.

Why are mobile payments convenient? Almost all of your customers have a smart phone. Mobile payments are quicker than traditional ones because they dispense the whole card swipe/plunge interaction and you can even eliminate paper receipts. All of this, and more, matters because taking friction out of the payment process is critical to making money. Merchants should make paying for something so easy that it’s an afterthought and capitalize on impulse buying. Plus, security and fraud protection is important to everyone.

The liability shift is what’s driving all the change. Because fraud is so high in the US, the government, banks, and other interested parties all chipped in to help drive the adoption of chip (aka EMV) cards to cut down on fraud. The “liability” in this is all about who’s responsible for fraudulent charges, and the rules for that are changing on Thursday, October 1, 2015. Right now, if you sell pants to someone who’s using a fraudulent credit card, the bank eats the cost and you as a merchant aren’t liable. In October, however, merchants will become liable for some transactions. Here’s how: If a customer uses a chip card for a transaction and you swipe the magnetic stripe on that card, and then it turns out that the charge isn’t legit, you are liable for the cost and would have to pay it out. We don’t want that to happen.

What does it all mean?

What does all that mean? It means you probably need a new credit card terminal and you’ll want to go ahead and get in the habit of plunging cards instead of swiping them. When you go looking for a new payment terminal, be certain to ask for one that supports contactless payment standards as well as chip cards. You may want to specifically ask for confirmation that the terminal works with Apple Pay and Google Wallet, as those are the two largest players, potentially with Samsung joining them, and they will be for quite some time.

You can call your current credit card terminal provider or payment processor for more information. You can also check out options from Square, Clover, Shopify, and LightSpeed. Note that some of those providers don’t have mobile-payment-friendly hardware out yet, but have announced that it’s coming later this year. There will be many more options, too. Still, those companies offer great information on payments for small businesses, and were the source of much of the information in this post. Check ’em out.

See, you thought it would be complicated but you just didn’t give yourself enough credit.

Newsletter – April 16, 2015

Casey News, Newsletter

Main Street Hartsville Newsletter – April 16, 2015

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Listen to George Clooney by This Frontier Needs Heroes while you read this. They’re playing at our Downtown Block Party on April 23!



Teacher. red apple resting on the book with chalk board as backg


Coker Cok

On Saturday, April 18th, from 11:00 am – noon, hundreds of Coker Freshmen for the Fall of 2015 will be touring our downtown with their families. This is a great opportunity to give a warm, Hartsville welcome to our next generation of community leaders.

(This is the same day as Hands On Hartsville, where volunteers will be taking on special projects around town.) For more information, click here.








Da Massimo Ristorante Italiano is now open for lunch at 11:30am Tuesdays through Thursdays. Follow them on Facebook to see their delicious specials!













So excited about local, native This Frontier Needs Heroes coming to Hartsville for our Downtown Block Party!

Want your business promoted in this Newsletter? We are always happy to help! Let us know how!

Main Street Hartsville Newsletter – April 10, 2015

Casey Newsletter

Turnip for what? The first Hartsville Farmers Market is tomorrow!

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Coming soon to a Carolina Avenue near you: we are happy to announce a “sold out” show this Saturday, with over 40 great attractions for you to come out and enjoy, like Farm Bureau’s Ag Simulator. Sit inside it, and pretend like you are harvesting a soybean field on a combine in South Carolina!

Enjoy live music by Frets & Necks (why yes, we do have a local luthier in Hartsville! And he happens to be a great guitarist who teaches lessons in our downtown, also!) And the One Hartsville Drum Circle will be demonstrating their soulful beats.

We have booths of deliciousness, including: Ovis Hill Farms, McCarley’s Bakery, Sunny Cedar Farms, 5th Street Farmer’s Market, Sans Gluten Bakery, Hazel’s Delights and Crema Coffee! And Jazzy Lils dog treats are the perfect reward for that new furry friend needing a forever home, who you can adopt this weekend on-site from the Darlington County Humane Society!

We will have vendors of creativeness: simply too many arts and crafts talents to name here, but if you’re looking for jewelry, ceramics, acrylics, homegoods, soaps, candles, artwork, and hand-crafted gifts, you won’t want to miss Saturday’s show!

Our service clubs and non-profit presence includes Hartsville Lions Club, Kiwanis Club, Pilot Club, and Guardian Ad Litem. You’ll also enjoy North Hartsville Baptist, First Baptist and St. Luke United Methodist working on their missions and ministries.

We’ll also have the YMCA, Black Creek Arts and Kalmia Gardens promoting their fantastic upcoming programs. Friends Of The Library will have great books for you to read poolside this summer! And Sandhill Connextions will be there showing us what 4GLTE fast high-speed internet looks like!

It’s supposed to be 79 and sunny, what a great day to spend shopping our downtown stores and boutiques, and lunching at our great restaurants! #showsomelocallove

The fun starts at 9am, outside of City Hall at 100 East Carolina Avenue, so make plans to get there early and stay all day!

Many thanks to our sponsors, who have made this a great community event: Wells Fargo, Sonoco, Annie’s Project, Arbor One Financial and MBW Accounting. We couldn’t have done it without you!

Hartsville Farmers Market offers maximum number of vendors for opening day on April 11

Casey Uncategorized

PrintThe Hartsville Farmers Market, Main Street Hartsville’s second-Saturday event taking place downtown on East Carolina Avenue, has filled up its 40 vendor spaces for its opening date: Saturday, April 11 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The market’s sponsors include Wells Fargo, Sonoco, ArborOne Farm Credit, Annie’s Project and MBW Accounting.

A handful of the items for sale at the market provided by local farmers, chefs and artists will include locally grown and organic products, baked goods, nitrate-free bacon and pork, wild-cut flowers, homemade soaps, bath balms, jewelry, ceramics and paintings. The event will also feature the S.C. Farm Bureau Ag Combine Simulator and a variety of churches and nonprofit organizations, including the Darlington County Humane Society, which will be adopting out puppies, and OneHartsville, which will host one of its downtown drum circles.

The street closure on East Carolina Avenue will range from the Fifth Street intersection through the location of the Hartsville Family YMCA, and the event will return the second Saturday of every month until December. The Hartsville Farmers Market comes as a follow-up to the former Good Living Marketplace, which took place nearby on Cargill Way. In a new feature for the downtown market, the event is organized as a juried market, meaning that all vendors are selected from the applicants to create an attractive mix of creative and original goods. Sponsors of the event and partner businesses of Main Street Hartsville are eligible for free spaces, and the application form for participating may be found on the website. Volunteer opportunities during the market are also still available. Those interested can contact Main Street Hartsville at 843.383.3015 for more information.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to see the enthusiasm the community is showing for this first market,” Main Street Hartsville Executive Director Suzy Moyd said. “We’re hoping that the event can grow to a larger footprint with more vendors as it develops, and we can’t wait to get started this Saturday.”

Main Street Hartsville Newsletter – April 4, 2015

Casey News, Newsletter

Saturday, April 18th, from 11a – noon, Main Street, the Hartsville Chamber and Coker College will be giving a walking tour of our downtown to Coker College incoming freshman and their families. What can we do to welcome them? We are working on updating the Cobras Welcome Here program. Your input at tomorrow’s breakfast would be valued.

We have been awarded a Tourism Advertising matching grant, and will soon be running outdoor boards similar to these in outlying cities, like Marion and Pageland, to encourage day trippers and beach-going vacationers to come see all we have to offer!

The headline will change to “Explore” instead of “Shop,” to include all the great things going on in our downtown, but we thought you’d enjoy seeing what we are working on this week!

Many thanks to Tyler Senecal and LeftFoot Media for their great photography work, and also to our models who volunteered their time!

This Saturday! April 11th 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. 100 East Carolina Avenue

The new and improved Farmers Market starts this Saturday! And it is a “Sold Out” event (but we can always make room for more than 40! What a great problem to have!)
Space is always free for Main Street Partners, so just let us know if we need to reserve you a space! We would like to encourage everyone to have a sidewalk presence that day, as it will make the Farmers Market feel like a bigger event! Our barricade with street closure is only from City Hall down to the last pillar of the YMCA building, leaving the side parking lot at the Y open for guests, and leaving more parking available further down the street. Think how you would like to be a part of the excitement!

Many thanks to our Downtown Block Party sponsors, for being involved in organizing a great Spring celebration for all!

Want your business promoted in this Newsletter? We are always happy to help! Let us know how!

Main Street Hartsville Newsletter – March 19, 2015

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Promtime: A formal affair!

“And as long as I got my suit and tie,” sing it, JT. Did you know you can rent a tux right in our downtown? Prom season is here:

  • April 11th: Darlington High School
  • April 18th: The S.C. Governor’s School’s and Mayo High School
  • April 25th: Hartsville High School and Trinity-Byrnes

Alexander’s is offering this promotion to all students! Want to be part of a Main Street Downtown Prom Promotion? Email us today!

Check out Bizzy Night Ready Meals from Bizzell’s!

Delicious, downhome take-out you can pick up at the drive-thru! Your 4-course meal is only $50! Also a great gift idea for families with new babies, or as a get well soon or a thoughtful bereavement gift. You can call ahead 843-857-9080 and pick up your dinner, or simply buy a Bizzy Night Certificate as your gift and let the recipient choose their meal and date. Don’t forget, Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 10th!

March 27 – 29 – Downtown Hartsville

Led by Ronnie Reno and the Reno Express, RenoFest in downtown Hartsville is a three-day bluegrass music festival that serves up small-town style with lots of southern hospitality and outstanding down-home cooking which is a perfect fit for that great American musical genre – bluegrass music. The  festival is home of the SC Championship Bluegrass Band Guitar and Banjo Contests which attract Americas most outstanding bluegrass musicians each year. RenoFest also features outstanding concerts by Americas most outstanding professional bluegrass entertainers.
For festival event schedules, including the Friday night Hoedown, advance tickets, contest rules and applications and other festival information visit www.renofest.com.

April 11, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. – East Carolina Avenue

The Market is moving to East Carolina Avenue this Spring! We are reworking our 2nd Saturday Market to be a juried show, and have locally sourced produce as well as unique, handmade and homemade quality products, made by local artists, chefs and farmers.
Also, booth space is always free for Main Street Partners, so just let us know if we need to reserve you a space! We would like to encourage everyone to have a sidewalk presence that day, as it will make the Farmers Market feel like a bigger event! Our barricade with street closure is only from City Hall down to the last pillar of the YMCA building, leaving the side parking lot at the Y open for guests, and leaving more parking available further down the street. Think how yo
u would like to be a part of the excitement!

April 23, 6 – 9 p.m. – East Carolina Avenue

















Want your business on the Block Party poster? We are still looking for Sponsors for our Downtown Block Party! We already have 5 locked in, making it affordable for all! Call 843-383-3015.

Want your business promoted in this Newsletter? We are always happy to help! Let us know how!

Downtownly yours, Main Street Hartsville

The new Hartsville Farmers Market to open April 11th

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2nd Saturdays


9 AM – 1 PM



Hartsville’s second-Saturday downtown community market is back and better than ever with a new location on East Carolina Avenue!

Every month from April to December, the Hartsville Farmers Market will be home not only to fresh, healthy, local produce, but also handmade artisans’ crafts and wares, festival food, sidewalk sales from downtown merchants, and special events. Admission is free, and April will feature live musicians and the Farm Bureau Ag-Simulator. Make plans to make downtown your 2nd Saturdays morning destination!


For booth information for artists, entrepreneurs or your non-profit group, contact: