It's been a long year. At least, it feels that way if you spent it waiting to pay for things with your chip card.
One year ago today, regulations surrounding liability for credit card fraud switched to encourage banks and stores to start using EMV (Europay, Mastercard, Visa) technology, also known as chip cards.
Since the liability shift hit on Oct. 1, 2015, 33 percent of merchants have started accepting chip cards, Mastercard spokesperson for safety and security Beth Kitchener told Mashable . Eighty-eight percent of US-issued Mastercard consumer credit cards are now equipped with EMV chips.
EMV technology is more secure than the traditional credit card swipe. But U.S. consumers are still complaining about the time it takes to wait for a chip card to process and the confusion over whether to swipe or insert your card.
Half of consumers think paying with a chip card is slower than swiping a credit card, according to a recent survey by the payment company Cayan. Sixty-two percent of shoppers say they've been frustrated in some way while waiting for chip cards to process.
Getting these new chip credit cards feels like going back to green text bubbles, I deserve better
— #LetMyPeopleGLO (@MichellCClark) September 14, 2016
I really hate the fact that all cards have a chip now. That shit is 10x's slower than just swiping the card :unamused:
— Jasmine Nguyen (@JaySteezaaay) September 17, 2016
In 2017, can it be decided if we are swiping our cards or using the chip thing? Choose one fam
— Savannah Violet :lollipop: (@_SparklyThings) September 15, 2016
Cards that use an EMV chip are more secure because each transaction creates a unique code between the chip on a card and the chip inside a card reader. That makes it easier to catch fraud sooner.
The liability shift last year put the responsibility for fraud on whichever party — the bank or the store — has more outdated technology. Banks have always been responsible for fraud, and they were quick to send their customers EMV-equipped credit and debit cards to avoid further liability. But stores have been slower to make the jump, even though they can now be held responsible if your credit card information is stolen when you swipe.
According to Cayan's survey, only 47 percent of consumers know that improved security is the reason for the switch that has them waiting longer in line while people fumble with their credit cards.
Chip card readers are the hand dryers of financial transactions
— B.J. Novak (@bjnovak) August 26, 2016
EMV technology isn't new. It was introduced in the UK 20 years ago, Kitchener said. The US was the last to get EMV technology because it didn't have as big a problem with credit card fraud.
But the other countries who already use chip cards reacted to the transition more smoothly, Kitchener said. Indeed, consumer frustration with chip cards is a uniquely American phenomenon.
"Nowhere else in the world is in such a hurry to get their coffee while it's still hot," Kitchener said. "We never saw that anywhere else."
Technically, chip cards only add two or three seconds to the length of a transaction. But instead of putting your card away while a transaction is still processing through a merchant's software, you're standing there, staring at a cashier and waiting to remove your card.
please, please do not express your opinion of "chip cards" to the cashier you are paying. they do not fucking care. please, i beg of you.
— Samuel Morin (@samuelmorin) September 20, 2016
That has some consumers wishing they could go back to non-EMV cards.
"I absolutely hate the chip cards. I would definitely switch back to swiping my card," Jasmine Nguyen, 19, told Mashable . Nguyen says she had her credit card information stolen even after getting a chip card, so she doesn't think the added security is worth the hassle.
After the liability shift last October, merchants were reluctant to upgrade their systems and risk messing with the holiday season. But as the next holiday season approaches, there's hope that at least one of the problems with chip cards will be gone by this time next year.
As more merchants equip their credit terminals to accept chip cards, there will be less confusion about whether to swipe or insert your card. Soon, you'll just insert it, and swiping will be a thing of the past.
It will still probably feel like it takes forever, though.