Anita Campbell - CEO

Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses, and also serves as CEO of

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  1. I didn’t even know that merchants could still key in the number. It’s been so long since I’ve seen it happen (and luckily haven’t had any of my cards go bad).

    • Anita Campbell

      Sure, it’s possible, Robert.

      But I actually think distraction may be one of the biggest issues. I was at an art fair over the weekend, and it was getting near the end of the day. One of the vendors told me the last hour of the show is when they were extra careful, because that’s when the fraudsters tend to come out. Someone will appear eager to “buy” quite a few things, time is short, the vendors are tired and let their guards down, and it’s those transactions where they are more likely to have issues come up. And it’s not just with credit cards or debit cards, but they also tend to have problems with bad checks near the end of a show, too.

      – Anita

  2. Martin Lindeskog

    Anita: Is the smart chip card implemented on the North American market yet? That will handle a part of the problem.

    Futuristic scenario: You pay with your smartphone and confirm your payment with touching the screen with your finger. The phone is connected to the card company and a control list with your unique fingerprint.

    • Anita Campbell

      Hi Martin,

      The chip-embedded cards and mobile-only solutions haven’t caught on quite the way they have in other parts of the world. When I ran a U.K. operation in the late 1990s, they were already using smart cards for various purposes, and used mobile devices to a far greater degree than in the U.S. at that time. The U.S. has come along more slowly — but things have accelerated here, too.

      Both MasterCard and Visa have products along those lines. I mentioned them in an earlier article in this series:

      – Anita

      • Martin Lindeskog

        Anita: Thanks for the link. I remember that we have talked about this before! 🙂 It is great if Community Merchants USA will highlight developments in different parts of the world and spread the information to merchants in the United States of America. We could see great synergy effects then.

        One thing that I have wondered about is the so called security code (3 digits) back of the card that you have to use during an online purchase. How safe is that code? I have heard about people who have scratched off the numbers on the back of card in order to be safer. Is that a good move?

  3. I don’t see #6 being feasible. In fact, I see a complete hissy fit being pitched if a cashier refuses to manually enter a card. People are conditioned that the cashier will manually enter it if it doesn’t swipe. Maybe it got demagnetized – but for a cashier to glibly hand it back and be like, “Nope, not gonna enter it”…? I see the manager being called and the line being backed up. Some people only HAVE one card, by the way. It could be their only form of payment. But I definitely don’t see anyone saying they won’t manually enter the card in.

    • Anita Campbell

      Hi Heather, I agree that it can be an issue not to manually input numbers. That’s where judgment and well trained staff come into play.

      Speaking from personal experience, we always looked at the totality of the situation. Is the person a regular customer? Then of course, I’d manually punch in the numbers. What’s the customer buying? If it’s a relatively small purchase and everything else seems legit, then no problem.

      But if there are other circumstances raising red flags — large or bulk purchases, the store’s almost about to close, the person appears nervous, and so on — then more caution is in order.

      Retailers and merchants encounter risks in many forms simply by opening the doors for customers everyday. It’s up to the business owner to decide how much and what types of risks the business is willing to take.

      Unfortunately, in some situations there may not be easy answers.

      – Anita

  4. Having had the opportunity to previously work in the credit card industry, 6 yr of which were working credit card fraud, the best advice I’ve given my clients is when in doubt call for an authorization. It’s better to lose a sale if the customer gets huffy over cutting corners and dealing with a fraudulent card.

  5. You can definitely still manually punch in the card number. It’s always worrying to give that information over the phone for food delivery. If you get a worker that cares enough to write it down, they could easily use all your information online.

    • I have a question if I punch in my card number at the counter because I forgot my card can the person workingbehind the counter see each number I punch in along with my pin or can they just see that all of my info was correct and the transaction processed…. I ask because sometimes I forget my card when I walk over to my corner store and I sometimes punch my number and pin in on the keypad.

  6. There are some few other ways merchants can be cautious. Every credit card has a particular hologram on it that changes color in the light, so merchants must check this to ensure the card is real. A non erasable signature line is another feature on the card by which a fraud credit card can be identified. I am thankful to Anita for this great handy article which has really allowed us a lot to know about and ways of identifying a false credit card.

  7. Aira Bongco

    Credit card fraud is rampant. As someone who is running an ecommerce site, I always find people buying and then filing a chargeback later. It is frustrating on why they even do that.

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