Credit cards with EMV chips have found their way into the wallets of millions of Americans. But many have discovered that transactions using the new technology take much longer than those using a traditional magnetic-stripe card.
Instead of swiping a card quickly and returning it to your wallet, you wait for a prompt to insert your card in the reader — and then you wait some more for the transaction to process.
Visa is trying to address that complaint with its new Quick Chip technology. Quick Chip will allow cardholders to insert and remove a credit card in less than two seconds, much more quickly than the current technology allows.
“I’m very impressed with Visa’s move to enable faster and more convenient EMV processing,” said Sean McQuay, NerdWallet’s resident credit card expert. “EMV technology has been a great boost to payment security, and I’m glad to see Visa working to make it a more comfortable experience as well.”
Not only will transactions take less time to process, but users will be able to “dip” their cards in the reader while their purchases are still being rung up, according to a statement from Visa. This is the norm with magnetic-stripe card readers, but consumers using EMV terminals have had to wait until everything in their cart or basket was scanned before inserting a card into the EMV chip reader.
EMV adoption continues to lag
EMV chips offer more protection against fraud than magnetic stripes for in-store purchases. But EMV has been slow to catch on in the United States compared with other parts of the world.
However, a turning point for EMV came in October 2015, with a shift in who’s responsible for covering the cost of fraudulent transactions. If fraud occurs, liability for the loss now rests with whichever party doesn’t support EMV technology, whether it’s the credit card issuer or the merchant.
Since this liability shift, adoption has climbed steeply. But many merchants still haven’t converted. As of March 2016, only 20% of stores in the U.S. offered EMV chip card readers, according to Visa.
Will Visa’s new technology also take years to catch on?
Fortunately for retailers, Visa’s Quick Chip technology doesn’t require new equipment. Merchants will simply have to update the software on their card readers to allow the faster transactions.
Some industry experts are hoping a faster checkout experience for consumers will help speed the transition to full EMV compliance.
“This upgrade will likely make the switch to EMV more palatable for consumers and much less concerning for merchants,” McQuay says.
Whether or not faster transactions will inspire more merchants to install EMV chip readers — or activate the ones they already have — consumers are likely to appreciate spending less time waiting for their cards to be read.
The only ones likely to lose are shoppers’ kids, who will now have less time to lobby for sweets from the racks at the cash register.