Avoiding Chip Card Delays at the POS


Despite the increased security provided by chip cards, some users and retailers are concerned about processing times and delays they’ve encountered at the point of sale (POS). Fortunately, there are steps business owners can take to help streamline the checkout process.

Shoppers accustomed to taking two to three seconds to swipe a magnetic stripe payment card now must get used to a wait of seven to 10 seconds to complete a chip card transaction. This slight delay is due to the fact that the chip card must remain in the terminal until the transaction has been authorized and the cardholder has provided a signature or PIN for authentication.

A new national Harbortouch survey examining consumer sentiment and usage trends among 5,000 early adopters of EMV® credit cards reveals that one in five feels those few extra seconds required for a chip card transaction are a few too many. The survey also asked respondents about their chip card preferences and usage habits. Only 21 percent reported that they had used an EMV card, with the highest adoption rate of EMV cards (25.3 percent) among Millennials (25-34 year olds).

When polled about the quickest form of electronic payment, 67 percent believed that traditional swipe cards are the fastest method available. And, as evidence that speed trumps security, nearly four times as many respondents were worried about speedy processing over card security of the availability of EMV terminals.

Given that mindset, there has been some concern among retailers that the extra seconds spent processing chip card transactions will result in longer checkout lines walkouts by customers who don’t want to wait. This is a particular concern during peak shopping seasons.

One potential solution is the implementation of line-busting programs, including mobile payment options,  which can help retailers reduce wait times and long lines. An even simpler solution is for retailers to make sure their staff is well versed in how to facilitate an EMV transaction at the POS. With increasing numbers of consumers adopting digital wallets, it would also be helpful to review the use of NFC at the POS.

Need more information? TransFirst® can answer your questions and assist you in your transition to EMV. Check out our 8 Great EMV Credit Card Processing FAQs infographic for the basics, and then share it with your employees.

If your business hasn’t yet transitioned to accepting EMV and NFC transactions, it’s time to consider making the switch. Talk to a TransFirst representative to find out which options are best suited to your business.


EMV is a registered trademark or trademark of EMVCo LLC, in the United States and other countries.

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