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Some users will 'kick and scream' at paying with slower chip cards

Matt Hamblen | June 25, 2015
Confusion expected as consumers adapt to using smart cards and new point-of-sale terminals

Also, most retailers will still require customers to type in a PIN on a keypad or write their signature on a keypad with a stylus to approve a payment.

When customers are trying to make a payment while others are standing in line, the pressure to move quickly could overwhelm their sense of needing greater security with a smart chip card.

"There won't be a standard terminal at checkout, so the experience will be frustrating," Graham added. "You'll wait for an acknowledgement from the cashier or the machine that will cause friction, and that will create an opportunity for mobile wallets to advertise how easy they are to use."

Bank of America is showing in TV ads how it supports Apple Pay with iPhones, Graham said. Bank of America also has been shipping new smart cards to its customers with a pamphlet explaining the new cards and how to use them.

Banks, merchants and card issuers have tried to agree on common smart-card payment terminology to provide clear, simple steps for consumers via a website called

The website describes some of the basics for using a chip card, such as inserting it "with the chip toward the terminal, facing up." The description concludes: "When the terminal says the transaction is complete, remove your card." Other instructions warn, "do not remove [the card] until prompted."

"We certainly don't think the consumer should fumble through" using a new smart chip card, said Carolyn Belfany, senior vice president of U.S. product delivery for MasterCard, in an interview. Part of the intent of the website is to give uniform instructions supported by the industry.

"It was important that consumers are given the same instructions such as not taking the card out too soon, since people are used to swiping a card and jamming it back in a pocket," she said.

"You need to leave the cards in the terminal a couple of seconds until you see instructions or hear a beep," she added. "Some terminals will have a beep or not, some will be audible, some will be onscreen and some will even have video instructions. Some will prompt for a signature and some for a PIN, so there will be those kinds of variations. Hopefully that stuff will be minimized, but we'll still have variation."

Belfany said consumers won't face any liability if their chip card data is compromised, just as they won't today today, but they will be "keenly interested in the security of their information." Encryption and tokenization are enabled with chip cards, and mobile wallets, to enhance security.

U.S. progress toward smart cards

Even though there will be confusion and hesitation when consumers start using the smart cards, Belfany and Graham agreed that the new cards will be adopted more quickly in the U.S. than in other countries. Many U.S. travelers to other countries are already familiar with how they work.


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