Monday, August 22, 2016

Chip Card Nightmares

Joanna Stern (via John Gruber):

After pulling out the stopwatch for over 50 transactions at various retailers in recent days, I can confirm that it takes twice as long to pay with a chip card than with a card swipe or mobile payment—on average, 13 seconds versus 6 seconds.


And that doesn’t count the time playing swipe-or-chip roulette. Consider yourself lucky when you encounter a “NO CHIP!” sign or a duct-tape blockade over the slot.

Lately, I’ve been spared. I’ve only seen signs saying not to use the chip reader and had cashiers tell me to ignore the sign saying to insert my card.

“Many [retailers] don’t yet take EMV because the longer lines tend to be a much greater hit than the fraud that they’d have to pay for,” says Joseph Koenig, a technology manager at Index, a company that implements software in point-of-sale terminals.


Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay were all twice as fast as current chip cards in my testing. Hold up your phone, press on the fingerprint sensor to confirm it’s you and six to seven seconds later, you’ll hear that pleasing ding that you’re done.

It seems weird, though, that I still have to sign on that awful electronic pad after providing my fingerprint.

Josh Centers:

CVS Pay is part of the CVS Pharmacy app for iOS that combines access to your debit or credit card, ExtraCare rewards card, and a Health Savings or Flexible Spending account. Like CurrentC and Walmart Pay, CVS Pay uses barcodes to transmit information.

That’s wonderful considering that their terminals are never able to scan the ExtraCare and prescription barcodes from my phone.

Previously: Why I Started Using Apple Pay.

3 Comments RSS · Twitter

Diggory Laycock

It baffles me how the US has managed to completely balls-up their deployment of EMV. It's not as if no-one else has deployed it before.

Even in Europe, I've noticed that there are huge differences in how long it takes to pay with chip cards. Some terminals are really slow, taking seconds for the transaction to go through. Others react pretty much immediately. When using a fast terminal, I would say that the whole transaction takes less time than the six to seven seconds it takes for Apple pay (but I haven't measured it, and might be wrong).

From subjective experience, terminal speed does seem to be tied to the terminal itself; some types of terminals are slow, others are fast. My conclusion would be that, when rolling this out in the US, most stores went with the cheaper, slower terminals.

Yeah, it's almost surreal from a European perspective, reading about this rolling out now in the US (and doing it badly, it seems). I honestly can't remember when we switched to chip and PIN here in Sweden, but it was many years ago.

Terminals can be faster or slower (and the same goes for what kind of connection is used, although that has improved over the years), and yes, it does take more time than just swiping, but we're used to it.

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