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Chip Cards

The arrival of chip-embedded credit and debit cards Oct. 1, 2015 brought with it a certain amount of frustration, mostly about the time it takes for unique secure chip card transactions to take place.

It’s still only seconds, but it’s more seconds – 10 to 20 seconds by some accounts – compared with the second or two it takes to swipe a card the old way. The trade-off buys better technology and, more importantly, better security.

Visa To The Rescue

For those who hate to wait – for anything – Visa Inc. (NYSE:VD) has developed a new Quick Chip for EMV technology that lets you dip and remove your chip-embedded card instead of having to leave it in the reader until the transaction is complete.

The new technology will be offered free to merchants and payment processors and involves only a software upgrade. No action is required on the part of consumers.

Quick Chip For All

Although Visa developed its new technology for its own cards, the company stands ready to let other networks such as MasterCard Inc. (NYSE:MAC), American Express (NYSE:AXPC) and Discover Financial Services (NYSE:DFSB) deploy it as well, according to Stephanie Ericksen, VP Global Risk Products at Visa.

Ericksen said that it was up to other industry players to “determine exactly how Quick Chip could fit into their strategy and requirement.”

Other Solutions

Meanwhile some retailers are trying fixes of their own. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMTB) said it had found ways to cut time off waiting in line by, for example, removing an “Is this amount correct” prompt that asked customers to verify the total. Wal-Mart says its fix cuts as much as 11 seconds off the time required to process a single transaction.

Target Corp. (NYSE:TGTB) also said it has stripped out redundant and unnecessary prompts and it has shaved wait time as well.

Target representative, Molly Snyder noted that customers have not been complaining about the speed of chip card transactions at stores.

Visa Could Cash In

Given the uneven rollout, including the fact that many merchants are still not up to speed on newer EMV terminals, customer confusion and disgruntlement goes well beyond how long it takes to process a transaction.

Once the dust settles, however, Visa could have a distinct advantage, having developed and deployed its “no wait” technology first.

If, as Visa predicts, its technology eventually becomes the defacto standard, the advantage may even come at a price to competing networks who want to acquire and use Visa’s technology. Visa has not yet said if it plans to sell the technology.

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