Top 3 Pain Points of Moving to EMV Chip Cards (And How Your Employees Can Help)

1 minute read

Point-of-sale (POS) systems in the United States are finally getting around to using EMV (Europay, Mastercard, Visa) chip credit cards after many years in use in other countries. The tipping point for most retailers came in late 2015 which was when the major US credit card companies shifted liability for fraudulent magnetic strip transactions to the merchant and their processing company. With the change of technology comes an adjustment to how we pay with our cards. Here are the top three pain points we've seen since the change, and the best way we've found to mitigate them.

1 People don't know how to use chip terminals.

The new cards are still being rolled out, so not everyone has a chip card yet. Without fail, someone who is unfamiliar with the new card will enter your establishment and, when it comes time to pay, will need some coaching on how to use it. They might go to swipe, or try to put the wrong end of the card in the machine. This causes delays in the register queue and can result in frustrated customers.

2 Forgotten cards.

By now, most people are used to swiping their card and putting it back in their wallet, so when they have to insert the card into a reader, they may forget the card as they gather their merchandise or food. Many card readers give an audio clue to remove the card, but if your establishment has loud music or a bustling kitchen, your customer may not hear it, or may not understand what it means.

3 New terminals are installed but aren't chip-ready yet.

Receiving new hardware is easy, but making sure the software and your payment processor is ready to process the transactions is another hurdle to cross. Some people will be all set to use the chip slot but will have to be told by the cashier or a sign on the terminal that chip transactions aren't enabled yet. This causes confusion for a moment and, of course, more delays.

Now that we know what the issues people and businesses are having with chip cards, what's our best solution? Keeping employees trained and ready to help when they see customers struggling to understand how the chip cards work. Customers often follow the lead of the cashier, and may feel embarrassed by their unfamiliarity with the new system. If you set your staff's expectations to expect delays and stay friendly throughout the transaction, it can help other customers in line keep light spirits.

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