Home > Credit Cards > One Store’s Solution to Slow Chip Credit Card Transactions

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I probably use my chip credit card about once a week — that is, I dip it in a card reader rather than swiping it — and I’ve noticed the same thing a lot of people have: It’s slow. That’s not a huge deal to me. More than anything, I wish the change would happen more quickly so we could all get used to it and stop hesitating at the register, wondering “Is this one of those chip readers? Or should I just swipe?”

That confusion alone can slow down the checkout process: People (myself included) think they’re supposed to dip their card, only to have several seconds pass before the cashier says something like, “Oh, we don’t have that yet,” or “What are you doing?” (I’ve gotten both reactions.) Instead of coming across as an in-the-know consumer (Look! I’m embracing new technology!), I end up feeling awkward and a little frustrated for having wasted time.

Perhaps a bunch of awkward time-wasters like myself got to be too much for my local grocery store. A few days ago, when I went through the checkout line at Jewel-Osco (a chain in Chicago), I saw signs taped to the chip-dipping slot on the payment terminal: “PLEASE SWIPE YOUR CARD → CHIP & PIN transactions coming in 2016.”

I feel your pain, Jewel-Osco. I get a little annoyed with all this chip business, too.

No one would explain the signs to me. (A store manager referred me to the Jewel-Osco corporate office, and a spokeswoman didn’t respond to requests for comment.) I can’t be sure why they went through the trouble of taping notes on every payment terminal, but it seems like a logical way to solve confusion over chip cards and avoid unnecessary line slowdowns. Of course, they can’t outrun the chipocalypse forever. Eventually, Americans will get used to chip cards and going through the grocery store checkout line will be just as mundane as it used to be.

Remember, chip cards are designed to minimize fraud on in-store transactions; they don’t apply to online purchases, so you’ll still want to monitor your credit card or debit card statements closely for suspicious activity. You should also monitor your credit if you have reason to believe deeper identity theft is occurring. You can do so by pulling your credit reports for free each year on AnnualCreditReport.com and viewing your credit scores for free each month on Credit.com.

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Image: Christine DiGangi

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