Across the U.S., new credit cards are issued with a side of chips, but clients only get one per card, in gold or silver plating depending on the bank.
It’s part of the ongoing initiative to put America on the Europay Mastercard and Visa system. Known in short as EMV, the system serves as a global standard for reading card chips, and by 2020, will be the American standard as well. The metric system wishes it could be so lucky, but measuring in miles doesn’t cost $5.3 billion in losses.
These numbers are the main driver for getting EMV to the US. It’ll render the magnetic bars on older cards obsolete, and make it harder of identity thieves to claim their share of the 5.3 billion. Implementing EMV is not without it’s drawbacks though. The US is vast, and getting everyone and everything up to the global standard will cost between $8 and $12 billion by the time the 2020 deadline is met.
The shift to EMV brings a shift in liability for retailers lacking the system. Essentially it shifts the responsibility for credit fraud from the banks to non-EMV compliant retailers. Getting up to date isn’t cheap either, with the prices for EMV card readers ranging from $500 to $1,000.
The new system takes a bit of getting used to for clerks as well. Grace-Anne Eliot, a clerk at the Ole Miss Bookstore, says that reading EMV compliant cards takes longer, and customers unfamiliar with the system find the adjustment a bit difficult. “For some people who are used to swiping, I’d be like, oh we do chip now, and I’d have to do it all over again,” she said.
There’s also the issue, the greatest issue that comes with the EMV reader. Everyone will accidentally pull their card out before it’s approved at least once, effectively doubling the time it takes to check out. It’s left customers nostalgic for magnetic strips.
Sharetta Carter’s EMV compliant card, with the combined force of other customers’ cards has made lines longer, especially so during that moment when a shopper, chosen by fate, pulls their card out too quickly. “It seems more of a hassle, especially when you’re in line and there are a bunch of people in front of you and behind you,” Carter said. “I’m all for being safe, but I feel like there should be a faster method for the chip readers.”
As the transition continues, retailers still have to accommodate for 30 percent of customers armed with magnetic cards. “Some people have a chip and some people don’t, and it makes it more confusing,” Eliot said.
Most banks no longer issue them, and the last of magnetic cards are set to expire in 2018. That being the case, soon everyone will have a gold or silver plated chip of their own, and every store will have a slot to read it. That means longer checkout times are here to stay. “We don’t really have a choice,” Carter said.
However, the longer checkout times have come with effective protection against identity theft. , with Canada seeing it’s fraud losses drop by 45 percent and the UK by 70. Credit card fraud accounts for 47 percent of all crime in the US, so EMV’s quest for global domination is likely to continue as planned.