Cardholders Should Prepare for Confusion (and Warning Buzzers!) at Checkout

by Alex Johnson 0

October 1st marks the official network liability shift and the unofficial beginning of the most confusing holiday shopping season since the invention of the credit card. All the major news outlets are doing what they can to prepare consumers for the checkout line chaos that will be wrought by EMV.

“Visa said the authentication process adds roughly one second to a transaction, while Chase estimated one to two seconds. One expert projected five to 10 seconds.

The reality will depend in part on a store’s payment system. More advanced (and likely more expensive) payment systems will run faster, explained Philip Andreae, a vice president at digital security company Oberthur Technologies. “If you went out and bought a $200 computer versus a $2,000 computer there is an absolute difference in the speed; the same goes for point-of-sales systems.”

There may also be a psychological effect regarding the new procedure: “The consumer experience is going to feel longer because you are leaving the card in during that time,” said Stephanie Ericksen,Visa’s (V) vice president of risk products.”

More significantly (in Mercator’s view), the unevenness of the rollout (on both the issuer and merchant sides) will create additional consumer confusion.

“A recent survey showed nearly 60% of respondents haven’t received a new chip-enabled card. And some merchants have been slow to upgrade their payment systems, creating conflicting check out processes.”

But at least it won’t be too embarrasing for consumers if they get it wrong the first time.

“Target employees have been walking customers through the change and that the terminal buzzes when something has gone awry with the process — including if a card is left in the machine.”

Yeah, never mind…

Overview by Alex Johnson, Sr. Analyst, Credit Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group

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