"Why are stores still asking me to swipe my debit card while others let me dip?" It's a great question, and you're not the only one asking it. The good news is, we shouldn't be asking it much longer.
You probably have at least one credit or debit card in your wallet right now that is equipped with an EMV chip--the little square piece embedded in the card that makes it more difficult for fraudsters to duplicate. The chip works with the payment terminal to create a unique authenticated encryption code each time you use it--this makes it harder for fraudsters to make additional purchases with stolen card data. You can read more about chip cards in this blog post from December.
Chip cards will make paying for purchases a more secure process than ever before and the chip will eventually replace the magnetic stripe that the financial industry has used for cards since the 1970s. But we're not there yet.
Adoption is growing
MasterCard reports a 51 percent increase in the issuance of chip cards since October 1, 2015--the "liability shift" date that moved the liability for fraudulent purchases to merchants (if the customer has chip technology but the merchant doesn't). This puts chip card ownership at about 70 percent of all consumers. However, CreditCards.com estimates that only 22 to 37 percent of retailers are currently equipped to accept the cards.
Why the delay?
It takes a special card reader or payment terminal to read the chip cards and create the encryption code--for most merchants, that means converting or upgrading equipment. Some merchants had already upgraded to a new terminal or mobile card reader before the October 2015 deadline and were ready to go. Others, though, have been delayed due to the expense, effort, training or certification required to upgrade and/or begin using new chip-enabled machines.
(Attention merchants: Bank Independent's Business Banking team offers all kinds of chip-enabled card readers PLUS on-site setup, training and support! See our website for more information!)
So...in the meantime...
A recent report predicts that 98 percent of US cards will be chip-enabled by the end of 2017. Both card issuers and merchants are working as quickly as they can to implement the new technology; in fact, MasterCard reports a 110 percent increase in merchants accepting chip cards since October.
Don't forget that you can still use the magnetic stripe to swipe your chip card if a store isn't ready for you to dip. And when in doubt, swipe first; the machine will display a message if you should insert your chip card instead.
All Bank Independent debit cardholders were recently upgraded to chip cards, and we've started a five-month email series to help our customers get to know their new debit card. You can follow the series at www.bibank.com/MyNewDebitCard!