JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) – Thousands of credit card customers in the Tri-Cities are cutting up their old cards in favor of the newest generation of plastic, the chip (EMV or smart) credit card.

“The idea behind the chip and pin technology is to make it harder for criminals to duplicate or copy credit card,” said ETSU Professor Dr. Michael Lehrfeld.

Lehrfeld said the chip is hard to duplicate unlike the old magnetic strip credit card.

In October 2015, credit card companies required businesses to have the chip readers in place.

“If you didn’t have these technologies in place by October of 2015 then you’re potentially liable for fraudulent charges if something was to occur,” said Lehrfeld.

But despite the requirement, many retailers, especially smaller shops have yet to implement the new technology.

“The infrastructure is so complex and rolling out these new devices is so expensive,” said Lehrfeld.

John Debriel owns North Roan Service and runs a U-Haul business.

10 months ago he bought a card reader for his auto service shop, but is waiting for U-Haul to provide him with a new one.

Debriel told News Channel 11, this makes him nervous when thinking about possible fraudulent activity.

“I am a little bit and I’ve been asking our U-Haul people to get us a chip reader so that I’m not held liable,” said Debriel.

Debriel said the new technology works pretty well at his auto shop, but as a small business owner, switching technologies isn’t cheap.

“If I was told right now that I needed to change my equipment, it would cost me anywhere between $500 and $600,” said Debriel.

Lehrfeld said as time goes on the technology will become more affordable, and big box stores that are more at risk for data breaches will be financially motivated to start using the new card readers.

Lehrfeld says in the future he thinks shoppers’ credit cards, bank card’s, and ATM cards will all be rolled into one piece of plastic.Copyright 2016 WJHL. All rights reserved.