They frustrate you at the cash register when they don't work correctly or when a reader isn't available, but chip-enabled credit and debit cards are here to stay, according to the latest data from credit card companies.
There were over 363 million chip-enabled Visa cards in the U.S. by August, up 156 percent from the same time a year ago when U.S. companies began embracing the cards. About 88 percent of MasterCard consumer credit cards in the U.S. were chip-enabled as of July. That's up 105 percent from October 2015. Meanwhile, at least 2 million merchant locations had chip-reading terminals across the U.S.
“It’s been pretty messy over the past year, but I think that’s to be expected, just because there were so many moving parts, so many different people and so much money involved,” Matt Schulz, a senior industry analyst for the credit-card website CreditCards.com, told Market Watch.
Chip cards are known as EMV, or Europay, MasterCard and Visa. They are more secure than cards with only a magnetic stripe because they include a unique code for every transaction. The cards have helped knock down counterfeit fraud by up to 54 percent in just one year.
Shoppers have complained that using chip cards is more time consuming at the check out register, while stores say there have been delays in getting enough chip-reading terminals in stock. In all, it cost retailers $30 billion to $35 billion to implement the change.
"This whole transition has been a challenge for merchants and for our customers," Mallory Duncan, general counsel for the National Retail Federation, told USA TODAY. "It’s not one we wanted. It’s extraordinarily expensive. It’s cumbersome, and worst of all it doesn’t really protect our customers to the extent we want."
The transition is comparable to how other nations have embraced the chip cards. Australia, Brazil and Canada took about two years each before 60 percent of transactions involved a chip card, Stephanie Ericksen, vice president of risk and authentication products for Visa, told USA Today.