Americans have developed an embarrassing dipping obsession lately with what we perceive to be the interminable transaction-time delay involved when we dip an EMV chip card rather than swipe its mag stripe.
I say “perceive” because Visa, for one, insists the actual electronic transaction time is identical whether we dip or swipe; only the card-time on our hands differs. That creates the illusion that, post-dip, we’re standing in the Target self-checkout for five minutes tapping our toe and whistling Adele, where post-swipe, we would already be on our way out the door.
Enter … the Quick Chip upgrade, made available Tuesday by Visa.
It’s a new specification that Visa now offers free of charge to payment processors, acquiring banks and other payment networks to offer to merchants. “The upgrade streamlines the processing of chip card transactions to enable customers to dip and remove their EMV chip card from the terminal, typically in two seconds or less, without waiting for the transaction to be finalized,” according to Visa’s announcement. The enhancement requires only a simple software update to the merchant’s card terminal or point of sale system.”
Customers will no longer have to leave the card in the terminal for the entire transaction, which will remove what Visa calls “cardholder friction.”
In a scientific poll conducted by CreditCards.com and released in April, about 70 percent of credit cardholders said they have at least one chip card. Their largest complaint about the new cards: The chips take too long to process transactions.
“Quick Chip for EMV helps make the checkout experience comparable to the ease and speed of magnetic stripe transactions,” said Mark Nelsen, Visa’s senior vice president of risk products and business intelligence.
Implementation requires a payment application software update, which Visa says can be easily downloaded to the payment terminal. It makes no changes to chip cards, and if a merchant’s system has already been certified, no further testing is required. Merchants interested in installing Quick Chip should contact their payment processor or acquiring bank.