Transition to credit card chip readers slower than expected

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As holiday shoppers take to area stores, businesses are scrambling to convert their credit card readers to process EMV computer chip-enabled cards.

The United States was supposed to begin transitioning to EMV chip credit card readers this year. The technology is already commonplace in Europe and across the globe.

“It’s an investment in the future,” local small business owner Greg Hann said. “I think chip cards are here to stay.”

Hann has six chip card readers at Hann’s Christmas Farm in Oregon, Wisconsin, though he says not many of his customers have or know how to use the new technology.

“The credit card companies aren’t doing their job as far as getting the customers to use the chip card,” Hann said. “A lot of it is on us, teaching the customer to use the card. As the merchant that’s part of our job too.”

Less than half of America’s 167 million credit card users have made the switch, according to Credit Card News, meaning that businesses who spent a lot of money on the pricey equipment aren’t seeing much of a return on investment.

The chip cards readers also work much more slowly than the traditional swipe readers, which leads to long lines and congestion within many stores, especially during the holiday season.

“My customers and I have both been seeing these transactions taking a longer period of time,” Hann said. “We actually added a fourth cash register for that reason, so now I have another expense to pay an employee to staff that register.”

Though with much of the world already converted to the new technology and the promise of a more secure process, both Hann and his customers are confident that the transition will work out in the long run.

“In the big picture, I think we’ll get it done here in the U.S. without too many problems,” Hann said. “It will be a more secure system.”