Why EMV transaction take so long

On the surface, 15 seconds doesn't seem like a lot of time. It's just a quarter of a minute, but, when you're in a rush and waiting for your credit card transaction to process, it can seem like an eternity.

Old, magnetic strip cards are processed in just a second or two, so the newer, better, more secure technology should be even quicker, right? Not necessarily.

There are two reasons why EMV cards, the ones with embedded chips, take longer than their predecessors. Mainly, it is because of their added security that they're taking longer to process.

Magnetic strip cards are very insecure, which is why they're so susceptible to hackers and data theft. The information on the strip is exactly the same information that's embossed on the front of the card. All the computer has to do is read the data and send it along. With the added security of EMV, there are several other steps that are needed, making processing times longer.

The chips on EMV cards essentially have all the same information that magnetic strips have, but it's encrypted. This is done to help prevent data theft. Using current methods, the information obtained by a hacker on an EMV transaction would not be usable, thanks to the encryption. So, it protects your identity, but takes a bit longer to process.

LowCards.com also claims that some retailers may have poorly configured terminals, which also increases transaction times.

The other reason for the added transaction times is, simply, unfamiliarity. Both customers and retail employees are still trying to figure out the new platform, so there are some learning curves to overcome on both sides. Contributing even further to this is the fact that many retailers have equipment to accept EMV cards, but have not activated it, leading customers to needlessly attempt an EMV transaction rather then sliding their card through in the more traditional fashion.

Luckily, there are several things both retailers and consumers can do to speed up the process.

Watch how people in front of you are using their card so you can copy them and speed down your individual transaction time. Also, be sure to leave the card inserted until it tell you to remove it, as taking it out of the slot too early will cause a card read error.

For retailers, be vocal and instructional, as you may be encountering a customers very first EMV transaction. Take a moment to guide them through the process so that, next time, they'll be able to do it quicker.

Another thing to remember is just to remain patient. Even though EMV is currently slower than magnetic strip transactions, it may speed up in the future. Also, it's still faster than both cash or check transactions, so the situation could be worse.

If your company is in need of new payment processor software for your business, be sure to contact us today. Take a look at the rest of our website to learn more about the high-quality products that we carry.

Scroll to Top