Tuesday, February 24, 2015

8 FAQs Merchants Should Know About New EMV Credit Cards

Roxie, Ms -  Chip?   PIN?   Signature?    Will the old card work?    What you need to know ! 

Following an Oct. 1, 2015, deadline created by major U.S. credit card issuers MasterCard, Visa, Discover and American Express, card-present fraud  liability will shift to whoever is the least EMV-compliant party in a fraudulent transaction.  

You, the Merchant, could be liable!
Read important information !

1. Why are EMV cards more secure than traditional cards?

It's that small, metallic square you'll see on new cards. That's a computer chip, and it's what sets apart the new generation of cards.  The magnetic strips on traditional credit and debit cards store contain unchanging data. Whoever accesses that data gains the sensitive card and cardholder information necessary to make purchases. That makes traditional cards prime targets for counterfeiters, who convert stolen card data to "If someone copies a mag stripe, they can easily replicate that data over and over again because it doesn't change," says Dave Witts, president of U.S. payment systems for Creditcall.  Unlike magnetic-stripe cards, every time an EMV card is used for payment, the card chip creates a unique transaction code that cannot be used again.  If a hacker stole the chip information from one specific point of sale, typical card duplication would never work "because the stolen transaction number created in that instance wouldn't be use able again and the card would just get denied," Witts says. EMV technology will not prevent data breaches from occurring, but it will make it much harder for criminals to successfully profit from what they steal.  Experts hope it will help significantly reduce fraud in the U.S., which has doubled in the past seven years as criminals have shied away from countries that already have transitioned to EMV cards, Conroy says. "The introduction of dynamic data is what makes EMV cards so effective at bringing down counterfeit card rates in other countries," she says.

2. How do I use an EMV card to make a purchase?

Just like magnetic-stripe cards, EMV cards are processed for payment in two steps: card reading and transaction verification.  However, with EMV cards you no longer have to master a quick, fluid card swipe in the right direction. Chip cards are read in a different way.  "Instead of going to a register and swiping your card, you are going to do what is called 'card dipping' instead, which means inserting your card into a terminal slot and waiting for it to process," Conroy says.  When an EMV card is dipped, data flows between the card chip and the issuing financial institution to verify the card's legitimacy and create the unique transaction data. This process isn't as quick as a magnetic-stripe swipe.  "It will take a tiny bit longer for that transmission of data to happen," Witts says. "If a person just sticks the card in and pulls it out, the transaction will likely be denied. A little bit of patience will be involved."  

3. Is card dipping the only option ?

Not necessarily. EMV cards can also support contactless card reading, also known as near field communication.   Instead of dipping or swiping, NFC-equipped cards are tapped against a terminal scanner that can pick up the card data from the embedded computer chip.  "Contactless transactions are more consumer-friendly because you just have to tap," Ferenczi says. "Around the world, there is a move to make EMV cards dual-interface, which means contact and contactless. However, in the U.S., most financial instructions are issuing contact cards."  Dual-interface cards and the equipment needed to scan them are expensive. Right now, the first step is to successfully integrate EMV cards into the U.S. shopping scene. Dual interface will arrive later, according to Ferenczi.

4. Will I still have to sign or enter a PIN for my card transaction ?

Yes and no. You will have to do one of those verification methods, but it depends on the verification method tied to your EMV card, not if your card is debit or credit.
Chip-and-PIN cards operate just like the checking-account debit card you have been using for years.  Entering a PIN connects the payment terminal to the payment processor for real-time transaction verification and approval. However, many payment processors are not equipped with the technology needed to handle EMV chip-and-PIN credit transactions. So it is not likely you will have to memorize new PINs anytime soon, according to Conroy.
"There aren't going to be many issuers requiring a PIN," she says. "A vast majority will be issuing chip-and-signature cards, which aren't all that different from how credit cards work now."  As with a magnetic-stripe credit card, you sign on the point-of-sale terminal to take responsibility for the payment when making a chip-and-signature card transaction.
Once the transition to EMV is under way in the U.S., chip-and-PIN cards will be transitioned in. Again, it is one step at a time, according to Ferenczi.  "I predict we will start seeing some chip-and-PIN cards in 2015, and then it will probably take two to three years to fully convert to chip-and-PIN," he says.  Despite a slow transition overall, those who get chip-and-PIN cards will be able to use them right away.  "If a terminal doesn't have the ability to accept a PIN, it will then step down to accepting a signature," says Randy Vanderhoof, executive director of the Smart Card Alliance. "There will always be a secondary option."

5. If fraud occurs after EMV cards are issued, who will be liable for the costs ?

Today, if an in-store transaction is conducted using a counterfeit, stolen or otherwise compromised card, consumer losses from that transaction fall back on the payment processor or issuing bank, depending on the card's terms and conditions. Following an Oct. 1, 2015, deadline created by major U.S. credit card issuers MasterCard, Visa, Discover and American Express, card-present fraud  liability will shift to whoever is the least EMV-compliant party in a fraudulent transaction. Consider the example of a financial institution that issues a chip card used at a merchant that has not changed its system to accept chip technology. This allows a counterfeit card to be successfully used. "The cost of the fraud will fall back on the merchant," Ferenczi says.  The major credit card issuers each have published detailed schedules  about the upcoming shift in liability. The change is intended to help bring the entire payment industry on board with EMV by encouraging compliance to avoid liability costs. Any parties not EMV-ready by October 2015 could face much higher costs in the event of a large data breach. Automated fuel dispensers will have until 2017 to make the shift to EMV. Until then, they will follow existing fraud liability rulings. 

6. So by Oct. 1, 2015, the transition to EMV technology will be complete ?

Not exactly.  Although the upcoming deadline is strong encouragement for all payment processing parties to become EMV-compliant as soon as possible, experts do not believe everyone will comply by that date.  "Don't expect a big bang in October of 2015," says Doug Johnson, vice president of risk management policy for the American Bankers Association. "In terms of rollout, we expect about 50 percent of banks and retailers to be completely transitioned over. It's going to take a little time to adapt."  Aite Group estimates that by the end of 2015, approximately 70 percent of credit cards and 40 percent of debit cards in the U.S. --1.1 billion cards total -- will support EMV.   "We are the most fragmented and the largest market that has ever gone to the EMV standard," Conroy says. "There's going to be varied customer experiences over the first year, year-and-a-half of this transition."

7. If I want to use my chip-card at a retailer that doesn't support EMV technology yet, will it  work ?

Yes. The first round of EMV cards -- many of which are already in consumers' hands -- will be equipped with both chip and magnetic-stripe functions so consumer spending is not disrupted and merchants can adjust.  If you find yourself at a point-of-sale terminal and are not sure whether to dip or swipe your card, have no fear. The terminal will walk you through the process.  "For example, if you enter a card into the chip reader slot but the reader isn't activated yet, it will come up with an error and you'll be prompted to swipe the card in order to use it," Vanderhoof says.  And vice-versa.  "If a consumer tries to swipe a chip card instead of inserting it, an error will appear and they will be prompted to insert the card for chip processing instead," Vanderhoof says.  If chip-card readers are not in place at a merchant at all, your EMV card can be read with a swipe, just like a traditional magnetic-stripe card.  "You can still conduct transactions, you just lose that extra level of chip security," Johnson says.

8. Will I be able to use my EMV card when I travel outside the country ?

Yes and no.  The U.S. is the last major market still using the magnetic-stripe card system. Many European countries moved to EMV technology years ago to combat high fraud rates. That shift has left many U.S. consumers who have magnetic-stripe cards looking for other forms of payment when they travel.  Since many foreign merchants are wary of magnetic-stripe cards, consumers who hold some type of chip card may run into fewer issues than those without one, according to Ferenczni.  "Just the existence of the chip will likely make European merchants more willing to accept transactions that they wouldn't have likely accepted if a customer presented a mag-stripe card," he says.   However, chip-and-PIN cards are the norm in most other countries that support EMV technology. So consumers with chip-and-signature cards may still find merchants who are unwilling or unable to process their card, even though it does have an embedded chip.  Unmanned payment kiosks in Europe -- such as bike rental stations, train ticket stations and parking permit dispensers -- may give U.S. travelers the most difficulty since most are set up to strictly accept chip-and-PIN card only, according to Ferenczi.

But despite any difficulties in the transition, Ferenczi says the change is a step in the right direction.  "Nobody likes to think that his or her card is being secretly used for other purposes," he says. "So I think regardless, there is a level of comfort knowing that it will be far more difficult to counterfeit EMV cards."

Source:  Sienna Kossman is a staff reporter for CreditCards.com who joined the editorial team in January 2014.  Prior to her graduation from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, she spent a summer writing consumer-friendly health and money articles for U.S. News & World Report.  To read more articles by Sienna Kossman click here > 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Litter Can Be Harmful To Wildlife and Pets

Released: Sept. 12, 2014
Contact: Dr. Jim Miller, 662-325-2619

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Extension Outdoors

Litter can be harmful to wildlife and pets

By James E. “Jim” Miller
Professor Emeritus, Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Aquaculture
Mississippi State University

People discard millions of tons of trash daily in recycling containers or garbage cans, but unfortunately, many people leave trash in other places, where it can harm wildlife and pets.

Whether it is carelessly tossed out of car windows or off the sides of boats, left on the ground from routine farming or construction activities, or casually dropped while walking down the street, litter is more than an unsightly nuisance.

I am continually amazed at the amount of trash I see in my neighborhood, from food wrappers and bottles to packaging straps and cigarette butts. It makes me wonder if these unthinking people litter in their own yards as well. 

Unfortunately, some of that trash can pose serious threats to wildlife, fish, pets and even people.

Occasionally we see dramatic evidence of some animal that has been ensnared, maimed or killed by improperly discarded trash. Photographs of fish or turtles whose bodies are girdled by six-pack plastic rings, raccoons with their heads trapped in metal containers, pelicans dead of starvation from ingesting bottle caps and fishing line, or ospreys entangled in discarded monofilament are all too common.

I grew up on a farm and remember baling hay with hemp or sisal twine. At the time, I never thought about the fact that such twine could be a problem to wildlife or domestic livestock. However, my dad taught me to wrap the twine around a stick and save it, because it might come in handy to hastily fasten a gate, temporarily mend a break in a net or hang a tool on a nail in the barn. We never disposed of such twine, rope, or string, as long as it had some potentially useful purpose. Once it lost its usefulness, we burned it.

Today, baling twine is made of either sisal, which is biodegradable, or polypropylene, a non-biodegradable plastic. If it is disposed of irresponsibly, the plastic type can ensnare or even kill domestic animals and wildlife alike.

A friend recently shared with me a trail camera photograph of a very nice buck, two weeks prior to the bow-hunting season, with several yards of pink polymer hay baling twine entangled around both antlers. He then shared with me a second photo, from the opening day of bow season, when he found a buck -- likely the same one -- ensnared and locked together with another buck by pink polymer twine. They were both dead, probably after much suffering.

Admittedly, bucks sometimes get their antlers hooked together while fighting or sparring, but most of them break apart when one dominates the other or before becoming severely impaired. It would be pure speculation to say whether these two bucks might have separated and lived, despite their fighting and sparring, had their antlers and necks not been entangled with this hay baling twine. But I’d venture to guess that the baling twine made their death more likely.

I would encourage my fellow hunters to pick up twine or other discarded materials that could be a threat to wildlife and wind it up on a stick or carry it away for disposal or recycling. It won’t take much time or effort, and it could save an animal from a lot of suffering.

The bottom line is that improper disposal of trash of any kind is illegal, unattractive and harmful. It can be fatal to both domestic and wild animals. Please dispose of trash and refuse in an appropriate manner by recycling or placing it in an approved trash container. We all appreciate those who make an effort to protect the health and beauty of our treasured wildlife habitats and the neighborhoods and communities we call home.

Source: FCNews Staff / Press release - Msu Ag Communications News

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Digital Dangers Lurk for Students as School Begins


By Susan Collins-Smith / July 18, 2014
Contact: Jamie Varner, 662-325-3226; Dr. Mariah Morgan, 662-325-3226; or Ellen Graves, 662-325-2400

MSU Ag Communications - MISSISSIPPI STATE -- As students head back to the classroom, parents should remain aware of their children’s online behavior -- whether for school assignments or socializing.

Jamie Varner, an instructor with the Mississippi State University Extension Service Center for Technology Outreach, said parents should warn their children about digital dangers and take practical steps to help keep them safe.
KidZui, The Internet for Kids
“The No. 1 thing parents can do is communicate with their children about what they should and should not do when they are online,” Varner said. “The Internet can be a good source of information, but it poses some risks. Innocent searches can bring up websites with harmful malware, software, viruses or inappropriate content.”

Varner recommends setting up the computer in a central area of the home, such as the family room, where the monitor is visible to others.

“Think about when your children will be using the computer,” she said. “If the computer is a desktop and homework gets done while the adults are preparing dinner, maybe the computer should be near the kitchen.”

Other options to help control content when children are unsupervised are Internet filters and passwords.  To password-protect sites in Internet Explorer, use the Tools tab to access Internet Options and then select the Security tab. Highlight Restricted Sites, and left-click on Sites. Then, in the available field, type the restricted website. Press the Add button. Repeat these steps for each website that should not be accessed.

Internet filters reduce the possibility children can access inappropriate material. Filters can be customized to meet individual needs. Some filters can also manage instant messaging software and social media sites and provide a detailed activity log. Internet filters can be purchased or downloaded for free from the Internet, Varner said.

Mariah Morgan, an assistant Extension professor with the Center for Technology Outreach, said passwords can be set up through a computer’s internal settings to control what content children can access. No special software is needed.

Child-friendly search engines, such as Google’s Safe Search and KidZui, can limit children’s ability to stumble across explicit material, Morgan said.

The same safety features can be implemented on mobile devices. “Keeping kids safe on Smartphones and tablets can be a bit more difficult, but it’s not impossible,” Morgan said.

Both Apple and Android operating systems allow parents to limit online activity and app purchases on phones and tablets. Parents can set content filters in both the Google Play and iTunes stores to prevent the download of apps that cost money. To stop the download of free apps, parents can block access to both stores entirely by installing a password or personal identification number. App downloads from websites can be disabled in the settings menu. Most devices with newer operating systems allow different profiles for different users.

Apps also can help parents enforce limits. Kid Mode keeps child-friendly apps in a locked area on the device. Net Nanny and Funamo apps filter content and provide email reports on the child’s activity, Morgan said.

Many children interact with friends routinely on social media. Ellen Graves, Extension social media strategist, suggests parents set limits and discuss ground rules before allowing a child to join a social media network.

“Children should be mature enough to make sound decisions about what they post and who they communicate with via social media before they join any network,” Graves said. “Make sure they understand they should never post personal information, such as a phone number or an address, that could put them, their families or friends in danger.”

Encourage children to create a private profile, which allows only approved individuals to interact with the child. Parents should know the usernames and passwords of each social media account their child has, Graves said.

“Be open with your children and make sure they know you will be monitoring their social media activity for their safety,” she said. “It is also a good idea to define the amount of time they can spend on the Internet. Of course, these rules can change as the child becomes more mature and demonstrates good judgment.”

Software, such as Net Nanny and My Mobile Watchdog, can help parents keep track of a child’s social media activity, but these and some other programs charge fees. Apps, such as Screen Time, help restrict the time spent on iPhones and iPads. Parents can also follow or friend children as an additional way to monitor their behavior, Graves said.

Source: FCNews Staff - MSU Ag Communication press release

Monday, September 8, 2014

Oct 2nd set for 41st MSU Ornamental Horticulture Field Day


News Release - Sept. 5, 2014
Writer: Susan Collins-Smith
Contact: Dr. Gene Blythe, 601-403-8774

Horticulture field day set for early October

Horticulture enthusiasts and industry professionals can hear research updates (see listing below of all presentations) and tour demonstration gardens at the Mississippi State University South Mississippi Branch Experiment Station in Poplarville on Thursday, October 2nd 

Scientists with the MSU Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, Extension Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service will deliver information on pest management, variety trial results and landscaping during the 41st annual Ornamental Horticultural Field Day.   

Other topics include methods to prevent regrowth of crape myrtles after removal, blueberry propagation for home gardeners, hand protection for nursery workers, native plants for landscaping wet areas, Spotted Wing Drosophila and the impact of chromosome doubling on traits of scarlet eggplant.

On-site registration begins at 9 am and the program begins at 9:30 am.  Lunch and refreshments are included in the $10 registration fee. The registration fee is $6.50 for students.

The South Mississippi Branch Experiment Station is located at 711 W. North Street, across from Pearl River Community College.

For more information or directions to the trial garden site, contact Gene Blythe at 601-403-8774. For a complete list of seminar topics, visit http://www.msucares.com/newsletters/highlights/.

Topics Scheduled for Presentation at the
Ornamental Horticulture Field Day on Thursday, October 2, 2014

• Top Performers from the 2014 Variety Trials at the South Mississippi Branch Experiment Station – Dr. Gene Blythe, MSU-CREC

• Kaolin Clay Application as a Deterrent for Ambrosia Beetle Attack at Ornamental Nurseries - Christopher Werle,  USDA-ARS

• Elephant Ears (Colocacia and Alocasia) for the Landscape - Mike Anderson, MSU-CREC

• Measuring the Effect of Hand Protection on Worker Effort When Moving Small Container Plants - Scott  Langlois, MSU-CREC

• Southern Bunch Grapes - Dr. Eric Stafne, MSU-CREC

• Evaluation of Sabal Palm Species for Trunking and Hardiness - Dr. Cecil Pounders, USDA-ARS

• To Kill a Crapemyrtle - Dr. Anthony Witcher, USDA-ARS

• Native Plants for Landscaping Wet Areas in the Home Landscape - Patricia Drackett, MSU-Crosby Arboretum

• Spotted-Wing Drosophila: A New Invasive Pest in Mississippi - Dr. Blair Sampson, USDA-ARS

• All-America Selections Winners for 2014 - Dr. Gene Blythe, MSU-CREC

• Propagation of Blueberries for the Home Gardener - Melinda Butler, USDA-ARS

• The Effect of Pest Management Strategies on Small Scale Tomato Production in Mississippi - Christian Stephenson, MSU-ES

• Impact of Chromosome Doubling on Traits of Scarlet Eggplant - Dr. Hamidou Sakhanokho, USDA-ARS 

• Essential Oil of Caryopteris Pink Chablis™: Chemical Composition and Activity Against the Yellow Fever Mosquito - Dr. Gene Blythe, MSU-CREC

 ,,,,,,,,,,, in additional to other topics such as methods to prevent regrowth of crape myrtles after removal, blueberry propagation for home gardeners, hand protection for nursery workers, native plants for landscaping wet areas, Spotted Wing Drosophila and the impact of chromosome doubling on traits of scarlet eggplant.

Source: FCNews Staff,  MSU News release 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Comprehensive Firefighter Course for Students Available

ROXIE, MS -  A new comprehensive internet course is available to students. 

This course is designed to prepare the participant to be able to perform firefighting functions at an intermediate level meeting minimum nation standards according to National Fire Protection Association 1001. The student will be prepared for the Pro Board Exam which is included.   

Achiever Education & Training a global leader in innovative result-oriented training & consulting services

The student will identify the roles and responsibilities of a firefighter in the fire service. The students will define the basic functions of the fire service. The student will describe the basic types of fire apparatus and tools and their functions. The student will demonstrate competencies in basic firefighting techniques such as search and rescue, ventilation, and ladder basics. The student will identify and describe the correct use of hose lines and fire streams. The students will identify and analyze general safety procedures and the use of personal protective clothing. The student will describe the correct procedures and techniques for the use of self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). The student will identify potential hazardous materials incidents. Click here for more information. 

Other available information can be seen at the following sites

Source:  Staff