Despite increased security, most shoppers have no patience for chip-enabled cards
Posted April 27, 2016
In the check out line, seconds do matter. When credit card makers began switching from magnetic stripes to computer chips, the new technology added about 15 seconds to the average transaction time.
It didn't take long for customer complaints to pile up.
"Processing time, load time on websites, whether it be the amount of time it takes for that transaction in the store, we simply have no patience at all," George Belch, a marketing professor at San Diego State University, says of American shoppers.
Chip-enabled credit cards require users to insert a card into a reader, and the card stays put until the transaction is processed – a process that has slowed down checkout times for some.
Some call the wait "annoying," especially at stores where long lines are already an issue.
Slowly, chip-based transactions are speeding up.
Wal-Mart says it's managed to cut about 11 seconds off its chip-card transactions by eliminating a step that asks shoppers to confirm a total purchase amount.
"It doesn't sound like a lot of time, but in some ways it is very significant," Belch said.
Ironically, the new process people have panned was created to fight fraud.
"Yet we have no patience to wait the 15 or 20 seconds that it takes to really make sure that this is going to work effectively," Belch said.
Visa recently announced that it could cut terminal time to just 2 seconds. Shoppers can also save time by inserting their chip-enabled card as items are being scanned during checkout.
"Any time we can improve the shopping experience, and this is part of the shopping experience, the marketers are going to do so," Belch said.