Palmer Retail Solutions Blog

How are Chip Cards Changing Your Customer's Experience

Posted by Kathy Heil on Mar 21, 2018 9:23:18 AM

Chip CardsRetailers must keep up with technology advances in order to survive, and that includes sealing the deal with shoppers by making payment transactions swift and simple. So how’s that going for you? By now, virtually everyone owns a credit card with a chip. Chip cards have changed your customer's checkout process, but have they actually improved that experience?

Chip cards were created to enhance data security and to make transactions easier. Customers care about both, especially speed, and credit card processors know that. Verifone’s Valli Lakshmanan says you shouldn’t have to wait more than three seconds to complete the payment process. But that’s a goal that's still a work in progress.

Looking overseas to see the future

Oddly enough, shoppers in the rest of the world enjoy a more painless checkout experience. Industry experts blame the complexity of systems in the US for this – more players and systems that don’t integrate easily with one another.

One day, though, Americans can expect to see EMV (Europay, MasterCard, and VISA) technology here at home, too. These chip cards store data on an embedded chip rather than a hackable magnetic stripe, and the terminals don’t connect to the internet or a phone line to approve cards. However, EMV cards do require either a PIN or signature for added security.

Many US retailers don’t even have chip readers, yet. For those that do, the checkout process varies from one store to another. It can be easy, or not so much. The visual prompts can be confusing, and even if customers no longer have to provide a signature, the process often involves waiting. And waiting.

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Signatures are on the way out

One of the biggest hold-ups is waiting to sign. But Visa, MasterCard, and Discover say they no longer need signatures to verify identify. Why?

  • No one can read your electronic signature anyway.
  • Online shoppers never have to sign anything.
  • Technology advances can now detect fraud in other ways.

New technologies are speeding the process in other ways

Visa and MasterCard are introducing chip cards that can be inserted and removed quickly to streamline checkout. However, new contactless cards can speed things up even more. These chips transmit cardholder data to the terminal as the card is waved over it. While a transaction using an EMV card might take 30 seconds, it may take only 15 seconds using a contactless card.

Speed isn’t the only factor that drives customer experience

Card companies are also working to replace that dreaded beeping – the one that is supposed to acknowledge payment completion but instead sounds more like you’re guilty of something. Should you remove your card, or put your hands behind your back? A friendlier tone would certainly elevate customer experience.

As a retailer, you carefully arrange every detail of your cash wrap to provide customers with an experience that reflects well on your brand and encourages them to return. Your payment process can either reinforce or damage those efforts.

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Tags: Customer Experience