It’s been 10 months since the EMV changeover, yet chip card speeds still lag behind magstripe—and, more importantly, behind merchant and consumer expectations. Around the country, people are growing frustrated as they wait what seems like an eternity to finish transactions.

But the significance goes far beyond awkward moments at the register. Research shows that customers will simply abandon a transaction when they estimate the wait will exceed five minutes. As waits grow and lines get longer, businesses are losing money.

Time Is Money—And EMV Takes Time
EMV transactions vary in speed, but surveys place the average transaction as high as 12 or even 16 seconds. With upwards of 26.2 billion credit card transactions annually, that’s adding 116 million hours to the checkout experience each year.

With the median retail employee getting paid $22,040 each year, even adding one new employee to combat the slowdown would have an absolutely massive impact on your bottom line. Not only that, building a new aisle and purchasing and setting up a new terminal—not to mention the lost showcasing value of the square footage you surrender—is going to amount to tens of thousands of dollars.

Simply letting lines grow isn’t an option either—the world’s largest and most profitable retailers obsess over line length for a reason. A customer that walks into a store and sees a busy line will turn around and leave a high percentage of the time. Studies estimate that customers tend to wait no longer than 5 minutes for service, and the New York Times notes that “research has shown that consumers routinely perceive the wait to be far longer than it actually is.”

The news is no better for consumers—if you use your credit card 4 times a day, EMV transactions take an extra five and a half hours from you every year. For both retailers and customers, time is money. And EMV is eating away at the bottom line in a big, big way.

What Can You Do?
Cutting transactions by 10 seconds would reduce checkout hours by 75%. Lines would be shorter, customers would be happier, employees would have more time to tend to other tasks, and no new aisles would be needed, leaving more space to display items.

You could solve EMV difficulty by adding something—adding employees, adding aisles, adding space—but that costs huge amounts of money. The better and simpler option is subtraction—subtraction of valuable seconds from your transaction time. And processors around the country are working hard right now to allow you to do that.

Want to know more about EMV and the dangers of slow checkout? Take a look at some of our other articles:
One Year Later, Chip Cards Continue to Confound Customers
How Does Speed at Checkout Affect Customers?

​​EMV Will Add 116 Million Hours to the Checkout Experience This Year

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