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Shoppers could spend more time waiting in checkout lines as they and the places where they shop adjust to a new breed of credit cards.
EMV — short for Europay, Visa and MasterCard — credit cards contain a microchip that is used to authenticate transactions and improve payment security. Instead of swiping the card’s magnetic strip on card terminals, consumers must insert or ‘dip’ their cards into the front of card readers with the chip facing up. Card users are then prompted to answer a few questions and sign on the screen, a process similar to that on traditional credit cards machines.
While custormers appreciate the added security, some are worried the new system could create problems during the busiest shopping season.
“I do appreciate the added security of my chip card,” Laura Zoeller of Oconto said. “But, the whole thing is really going to slow down lines during Christmas shopping. Especially if its last minute.”
Zoeller said the introduction of chip cards has added one more step to an already lengthy payment process. She prefers the older cards and said she will choose to swipe if a store’s machine has both capabilities.
Yet a sales analysis by Walmart suggests consumers’ gripes about longer processing times may be more perceived than real. Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove said the company has determined that the average processing time for an EMV-chipped card is only a second longer than for a magnetic-strip card.
Still, Zoeller is not alone in her objection to the new cards.
A recent study by payment industry research firm Mercator Advisory Group, shows 28 percent of EMV chip cardholders are bothered by the new chip system, consider it confusing or even try to avoid stores that require them to dip their chip card.
Karen Augustine, Mercator’s primary data services manager, said of the 3,000 United States adult consumers surveyed, young adults and mobile payers are the ones most likely to avoid the new chip cards.
Other reports suggest consumers might not be simply frustrated with the cards themselves, but rather annoyed with poorly implemented EMV readers and uninformed sales associates, both of which can result in a bad customer experience.
The original plan was to have all cardholders and merchants equipped with EMV capable technology by Oct. 1 to allow a clean transition from traditional magnetic strip cards and card machines. Banks began sending out chip-enabled cards to cardholders in 2014, and merchants were warned that they could be liable for any credit card fraud at their businesses if they failed to update their payment terminals by Oct. 1.
Yet only 29 percent of U.S. consumers had received EMV-enabled chip cards as of Nov. 23, Augustine said.
According to a CreditCards.com overview of what consumers can expect from chipped cards, only 40 percent of retailers will be EMV-compliant by the end of the year.