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Amex’s Terminal Subsidy Initiative

American Express is about to launch a $10 million campaign aimed at helping small U.S. retailers meet the October 2015 deadline for installing EMV chip-and-PIN point-of-sale terminals, Business Solutions reported.

Under the program, which starts in February, Amex will reimburse small merchants $100 after they have upgraded their POS terminals to support EMV. The program is open to U.S. merchants that accept American Express cards but that do less than $3 million per year in Amex charge volume, and is not open to franchisees. Eligible merchants must also fill out an online form at www.americanexpress.com/fightfraud and submit proof that they have installed EMV terminals and meet other requirements by April 30, 2015.

In addition, the Amex program includes educational resources for small-business owners and training material for employees.

Amex announced that it would be launching the small-business support program on Oct. 17, when President Obama signed an executive order as the first step in the “Buy Secure” initiative. But the card brand didn’t release details of the program until this week.

Small merchants are likely to be among the hardest hit by the October 2015 EMV deadline, under which Visa and MasterCard will shift liability for payment card fraud to merchants if they have not upgraded their POS devices to support chip-and-PIN transactions. Most will miss that deadline: Fewer than half of U.S. retailers’ POS terminals are expected to be able to accept EMV cards by the end of 2015, and barely half of U.S. payment cards will have been upgraded by then, according to estimates by the Payments Security Task Force, a banking industry group tracking EMV adoption.

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