Frequently Asked Questions

What is skimming?
What can I do if I suspect card fraud in my place of business?
Why do I need Chip & PIN in my business?
How do I know if a card is counterfeit or stolen?

What is Skimming?

Skimming is where the genuine data on a card's magnetic stripe is electronically copied onto another card, without the legitimate cardholder's knowledge.

Skimming generally occurs within the service industry, where cardholders are inclined to hand their cards over to a staff member who takes it away to process the sale. Usually without the knowledge of an owner or manager, an employee is recruited by a criminal and offered a large sum of money to use a discreet skimming device which collects payment card details from unsuspecting customers. The employee will collect as many card numbers as they can and will then return the skimming device to the more serious criminal. They use the information to create fake cards with the genuine card information.  These are used to purchase high value goods for resale. It is important for you, the retailer, to be familiar with skimming so that you can protect your customers and your business from this type of fraud.

While the introduction of Chip & PIN has made it more difficult for criminals to clone or counterfeit cards, they continue to skim cards and use the clones in countries where Chip & PIN has not yet been implemented.

What can I do if I suspect card fraud in my place of business?

Call the Gardaí immediately and let them know your situation. They will advise you on how to proceed. Preserve any evidence carefully. The Incident Description Form which is available for download on this website may be helpful to you in recording relevant details.

Why do I need Chip & PIN in my business?

  • Chip & PIN technology has a number of major benefits for retailers.
  • The overall transaction time is reduced while PIN use is faster than signature.
  • Costs associated with card fraud are reduced, including a decline in chargebacks raised.
  • A cost-saving benefit is the elimination of paper as retailers no longer need to store copies of receipts where a PIN is used instead of a signature.
  • The use of Chip & PIN shifts the onus of identifying the cardholder away from retail staff and onto a technology-based method.
  • The sophistication of Chip cards means they can support add-on services, for example retailer loyalty schemes.
  • The increased security that Chip & PIN brings creates an opportunity to deploy unattended payment terminals in petrol stations, car parks and so on.
  • Better security on cards may increase card usage.

How do I know if a card is counterfeit or stolen?

In the new Chip and PIN card environment, the onus of identifying the cardholder has largely been moved away from retail staff and onto a technology-based method of identity.

The card is swiped or dipped in the Point of Sale terminal, the terminal reads the card to check if it is a Chip and PIN card, a Chip and signature card or the old-style, magnetic stripe card and prompts the retailer to request either a PIN or a signature from the cardholder, depending on the card type.

For a Chip and PIN card transaction the cardholder verifies that they are the bona fide owner of the card by keying in a corresponding PIN to the terminal PIN pad. The terminal verifies the cardholder, based on the PIN being approved. If the card is a counterfeit one, the terminal will prompt the staff member to decline the card or if it is accepted online, the card issuer will be liable for the fraud spend.

Be wary accepting a payment card when the customer claims not to remember their PIN. This could be an indication that the card was stolen.