Businesses and consumers adjust to smart-chip debit and credit cards
COLUMBIA - Visa recently announced that it will be reducing certain chip-reader debit and credit card checkout times to two seconds.
Checkout times for EMV (Europay, Mastercard and Visa) cards, otherwise known as smart-chip cards, currently take 10-20 seconds.
Smart-chip embedded cards create a unique transaction code with each purchase making it harder for someone to steal debit/credit card information.
Most consumers in the United States are used to swiping their magnetic strip debit/credit cards and entering a PIN number, but the verification methods for smart-chip cards vary.
A customer could be required to sign after "dipping" their card into a machine or enter a PIN number, but not every system requires a PIN number yet and not all consumers are aware of how their smart-chip card specifically works.
"We've had a few cards that did require a PIN number and the customer didn't know they even had one so they had to give us another form of payment," said Michelle Dillard, the manager of Tiger Spirit, which is a small business in downtown Columbia.
The store installed a smart-chip reader about five months ago after its machines crashed and it was forced to upgrade to the new system.
"I think a lot of our customers are used to it by now, but I think it's going to get more complicated when the PIN is required for all credit cards," Dillard said.
Bank of America says the cards are used in 130 countries.
The United States is one of the newest to adopt the cards.
"Maybe banks didn't want to spend the money and switch. In the end it's protecting them too," Dillard said.
She is also a smart-chip card holder.
"It is a little slower, I don't mind it. It was just a matter of getting used to inserting it into the chip reader instead of swiping your card. Sometimes I still forget and I swipe." she said.
Starbucks also recently installed smart-chip card readers in its downtown Columbia location.
"It protects the consumer and it protects us too. None of the numbers come up on our screen, we don't touch the card at all. It's all the consumer. They have total control." Barista Megan Smaltz said.
Large retailers noticed it takes a longer time to checkout with the "chip and dip" method, causing some long lines.
"It can be frustrating sometimes because you have this long line and you're just waiting, but I say I'm sorry. It's also a good time to make conversation with the customer," Smaltz said.
She said she feels the chip reader technology hasn't caught up with the new system but is ultimately safer than using a magnetic swipe card.
"People forget about it because it's so new and it takes a long time so they swipe their card and we need the chip reader, but it's minimal frustration," she said.
Consumers can learn more about smart-chip cards and how to use them with the tutorial, "How to Use an EMV Chip Card from Your Credit Union."
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