Hey small business owners: If you haven't prepared for the transition to chip-embedded credit and debit cards, you don't have long. Here are some tips to help you meet the Oct. 1 deadline to get new card readers and software that can handle the chips:
—Before ordering new card readers and software, be sure they'll be compatible with your payment processor's systems. Check with your processor to see which equipment you should buy. Some processors sell card readers, and they may offer discounts.
—Hire a technology consultant to install the system if you don't have an in-house tech expert. The installation can take hours and there are likely to be glitches that even a tech-savvy owner won't be able to handle.
—Companies whose credit card payment systems are combined with inventory management and other systems might want to separate the payment part. That would make their computers less vulnerable to hackers, who have been able to gain access to customer and other information at companies like Target Corp. by invading another part of an integrated computer system.
—Your payment processor or bank should be able to answer questions about the transition and what you'll need to do. You can also get information online from: