Credit Card Companies Are Blowing It With Chip Payments in the U.S.

Dieter Bohn, on the bungled roll-out of chip-and-PIN card terminals:

But in the meanwhile, we have to do this dance every time we check out, and it’s demeaning and dehumanizing. It’s doubly so because, as so many of my Twitter replies have pointed out, it’s a first-world kind of problem. So you feel like a little bit of a jerk for griping about it on top of feeling kind of dumb for not knowing how to accomplish the simplest thing in the world.

This transition from swiping to chips (or to mobile payments) was always going to be rough. But it’s way worse than I expected and retailers seem to be left to their own devices (literally!) when it comes to knowing what their payment machines should do.

Most of the new card readers I’ve seen here have handwritten labels on the chip readers that say something like “Chip doesn’t work” or “No chip yet”. But I bought some clothes last week at a store where the chip reader did work. I put the card in, waited (a lot longer than I should have), and then the reader played this awful grinding alarm sound, sort of like a “red alert” alarm. The sound made me think that the transaction did not go through. But it did — the dreadful sound was there to remind me to remove my card from the reader.

Compare and contrast with Apple Pay, which plays an utterly delightful ding when a transaction goes through. Night and day difference in terms of experience.

Friday, 29 July 2016