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Visa, Walmart chip away at EMV transaction times for faster checkout


A leading payment card issuer and the world’s largest discount retailer are both launching efforts to reduce how long customers have to wait to check out with EMV-compliant payment cards.

Visa Inc. is rolling out a technology enhancement designed to optimize EMV chip card processing and speed up checkout times. The new solution, called Quick Chip for EMV, streamlines the processing of chip card transactions to enable customers to dip and remove their EMV chip card from the terminal, typically in two seconds or less, without waiting for the transaction to be finalized.

The specification requires a software update to the retailer’s card terminal or POS system. It is available free-of-charge to payment processors, acquiring banks, and other payment networks to offer to retailers.

Quick Chip-enhanced terminals can also allow the payment card to be inserted and removed while the shopping cart is still being rung up, further streamlining the acceptance process for the consumer. Once installed, the technology will work with all cardholder verification methods, including signature and PIN, and does not require the retailer to make any changes to its routing or transaction handling.

No additional Visa or EMVCo testing is required if a retailer’s checkout system has already been certified as EMV chip-compliant. No changes to chip cards are needed.

“Visa is advancing a streamlined approach to chip transactions to make them faster and more efficient, while still providing a safe and secure experience,” said Mark Nelsen, senior VP of risk products and business intelligence, Visa Inc. “Quick Chip for EMV helps make the checkout experience comparable to the ease and speed of magnetic stripe transactions.”

In addition, the Wall Street Journal reports that Walmart has taken 11 seconds off the time it takes to execute an EMV-compliant chip card transaction. The retailer has streamlined the process with movies such as eliminating a prompt that previously required customers to enter the transaction amount.

Business research firm Field Agent recently conducted an audit of 100 chip processing systems at leading retailers including Walmart. It also undertook a survey of 300 consumers who use chip cards. In the survey, only 37% of the respondents reported a preference for EMV cards over the swiping variety; 63% said they would rather swipe a card than insert a chip card.

Uneven adoption among retailers (some have the technology, others do not) and slower processing times compared to the traditional swipe-and-sign system were cited by respondents as the top complaint regarding chip-enabled cards. The survey found that it takes shoppers, on average, 16 seconds to run chip cards.

Visa and Walmart are taking actions that should make it easier for retailers to accept EMV-compliant payments without slowing down transaction times. This will make EMV payments more universal and also increase customer satisfaction, creating a “virtuous cycle” that will help bring U.S. retail in line with the rest of the developed world when it comes to in-store card payments.

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