Annoyed With Your Chip Credit Card? You’re Not Alone

chip credit card

Some consumers are so annoyed by the new chip-enabled credit cards that they’ve begun avoiding stores that require them, a survey from Mercator Advisory Group, a payment industry research firm, claims. That’s an unwanted headache for small business owners, especially those fighting for shoppers during the busy holiday season.

The “avoiders” group is small but significant — 7% of consumers who hold a new EMV card and have tried using it, a number that represents roughly only 2% of U.S. adults. But young adults were nearly twice as likely (13% of EMV cardholders) to tell surveyors they “avoid stores that force me to dip my chip,” Mercator says.

“While consumers want the added security, consumers are having issues with the early implementation of it,” said Karen Augustine, manager of primary data services for Mercator and the author of a report on the survey. “U.S. merchants have not yet widely implemented the EMV card readers, but it’s happening more and more. With the holiday season, new implementations may have difficulty managing customer experience.”

The survey was taken in June, before the Oct. 1 liability deadline encouraged retailers to make the EMV switch. Far more consumers hold EMV cards now, yet the survey didn’t answer whether that means more are trying to avoid the stores that require them.

Credit.com has written on consumers’ frustration with stores that have poorly implemented EMV readers and on concerns with checkout delays caused by slow EMV point-of-sale terminals. But most consumers have embraced the technology and their main concern is that retailers haven’t adapted to the system, which is viewed as more secure.

Put simply, it sounds like retailers can’t win. Some consumers say they’ll avoid EMV stores, while others say they’re frustrated with stores that don’t use EMV. The EMV Migration Forum, an industry group, did not immediately return a request for comment.

Despite the potentially troubling existence of EMV avoiders, the survey did share some good news. Plenty of consumers — 34% of EMV cardholders — said they “appreciate stores that enable me to use my chip,” while 35% said that even though checkouts indeed took longer, they weren’t bothered by it.

There are mitigating factors to consider in the Mercator survey as well. As we’ve seen after major credit card hacks, consumers often say they’ll avoid shopping at certain stores due to payment concerns but still shop there anyway. So these responses don’t always translate to action.

Still, for consumers to even suggest they’d avoid a store sounds like a nightmare to retailers during the competitive holiday season. “I have a chip card and some of the smaller holiday stores are starting to implement it, and the cashiers aren’t too pleased with the situation at the holidays,” Augustine agreed. Too bad something so utterly simple is causing so much trouble for store owners.

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