New chip on the block a little slow

Some businesses and consumers are frustrated with the slowness of new chip cards.

All 2.6 million Visa cards issued in New Zealand will contain microchips by 2014. They will replace the old-style cards that operated with a magnetic strip on the back.

But Duncan Otto, co-owner at Hamilton Irish pub Biddy Mulligans, said paying took three times longer than with a magnetic strip card. He said if an error was made, a single transaction could take up to four minutes. “We rented two mobile eftpos machines for St Patrick’s Day, but it was still very, very slow.” He said drinkers often did not appreciate the delay. “On a busy day it hurts us.” He said the situation improved only marginally when the pub went to a broadband service two weeks ago.

Users who contacted the Waikato Times on Facebook were also not impressed with the process. Jhana Brash said that while she hadn’t had any problems with her card, she did find it more awkward. But Patrick Vetsch said his card “takes way longer … heaps of machines still won’t take it – or error out on it.

“Basically a pain in the rear.”

Another pub owner, Nathan Sweetman at House Bar on Hood St, said the service was slower now but there was not a lot he could do.

“It is one of those things where we are at the pointy end of it and have to deal with it. I don’t think I can change suppliers of the technology part to make it quicker – it is what it is.”

Phil Deason is head of products and partners at Paymark, the country’s leading electronic payments provider. “What we’ve seen is one market will introduce chip cards and the levels of fraud will dramatically reduce and the fraudsters move on to the next market where the pickings are easier. We’re looking to introduce the cards before they arrive here,” he said.

Mr Deason said transactions might take longer because the new cards now had an encrypted “conversation” with banks when they were used. Newer cards and terminals and the increased use of broadband would cut down the processing time. Mr Deason said a fix was coming with new contactless “tap and go” cards, where shoppers pass a card or a mobile phone in front of a reader to make a payment.

They were faster than the old strip cards. “I would expect that to be mainstream in the market in a year or two.”

What are your experiences with the new chip cards? Let us know on Twitter and Facebook.



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