EMV cards could slow holiday shopping lines

(Think Stock)

As most any shopper who has used one the new EMV chip-enabled credit cards can attest, it’s taking longer to check out.

As most any shopper who has used one the new EMV chip-enabled credit cards can attest, it’s taking longer to check out.

It’s because the processing time for the more secure credit card is significantly greater than that of the old-fashioned swipe cards that American consumers have become accustomed to using.

“On average, it takes between seven to 10 seconds to pay using a chip card versus two to three seconds to pay using a traditional swipe credit card,” said Jared Isaacman, founder and CEO of Harbortouch, an Allentown-based point-of-sale merchant services provider.

And a survey conducted by the firm shows that the American consumer isn’t thrilled with the extra processing time.

Taken a little over a month after the Oct. 1 EMV transition deadline, the survey of more than 5,000 U.S. adults found that one in five consumers considered transaction time as his or her top concern when using an EMV-enabled credit or debit card. (EMV is an acronym for Europay Mastercard Visa.)

While the difference may only be a few seconds, there is a concern among retailers that those few seconds could add up during the busy holiday shopping season, Harbortouch marketing director Nate Hirshberg said.

“Consumers may be a little frustrated by the extra waiting,” he said.

J. Craig Shearman, vice president of government affairs and public relations for the National Retail Federation, said with the volume of shoppers expected over the next few weeks, delays could be a concern.

Just looking at the initial Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Small Business Saturday period that jump-starts the season, the NRF expects 135.8 million people will be shopping in stores and online.

However, he sees checkout delays as more of a short-term problem.

Stacy Wescoe
Writer and online editor Stacy Wescoe has her finger on the pulse of the business community in the Greater Lehigh Valley and keeps you up-to-date with technology and trends, plus what coworkers and competitors are talking about around the water cooler — and on social media. She can be reached at stacyw@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 4104. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

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