This may not come as a surprise if you’ve shopped lately with your new chip-enabled credit cards, and you find yourself still swiping that shiny new card to make a purchase.
A survey by ConsumerWorld.org has found that three-quarters of four dozen national and regional retailers surveyed or observed have yet to enable the new technology to accept the smart credit cards. This is the case despite most of these retail chains having already installed checkout terminals with slots to read cards with embedded computer chips.
Credit card issuers established an October 1 deadline for stores to begin accepting the so-called EMV cards, which provides improved security against fraud, compared to the out-dated magnetic-strip credit cards.
While the rules vary among credit card brands, a retailer could bear the financial liability for any fraud losses if it fails to process a transaction using the new, more secure system. Previously, card issuers were responsible.
Chipped-cards help prevent the use of counterfeit credit cards by transmitting a unique code for each transaction.
“It’s seems crazy that millions of dollars have been spent to issue chipped credit cards and to install special card readers, but shoppers’ security is no better than it was before because the systems haven’t been enabled yet by most retailers,” commented Consumer World founder Edgar Dworsky. “It is also frustrating and confusing for shoppers who see the new terminals but don’t know whether to swipe or ‘dip’ their credit cards.”
The 48 retail chains surveyed were questioned, or observed via in-store spot-checks, between December 1 and 5. All of them except Radio Shack had payment terminals equipped with card slots for chipped cards, but three-quarters of those stores didn’t have them working yet.
These 11 Retail Chains Have Enabled the New Technology
Only 11 chains in the survey have enabled the system chainwide and are processing payments using chipped-cards: Target (all stores), Walgreens (all stores), Home Depot (all stores), Rite Aid (all stores), Macy’s (all stores), Best Buy (all stores), Walmart (all stores), Sam’s Club (all stores), Lowe’s, Old Navy, and Office Depot/Max. (The latter three had the system enabled in at least the test stores checked, but did not respond to the survey.)
Among the 75 percent of retailers that have not yet enabled the chip technology chainwide are Sears, Kmart, Costco, Michael’s, Toys ‘R’ Us, Bed Bath & Beyond, T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, Sports Authority, Foot Locker, Whole Foods, Stop & Shop, Petsmart, Kohl’s, Staples, Safeway, Kroger, and CVS (which expects full operation by the end of the year).
Why aren’t stores with card-slot-equipped terminals actually using them? According to one large chain that has fully implemented the system, it is a very complicated and expensive process to get a store’s system to properly interface with all the credit card networks, according to ConsumerWorld.org.