Payment Methods

Square Chip Readers Get Speed Boost

Despite the security and authentication benefits, timeliness is not part of EMV’s wheelhouse. As card swipes turned to chip insertions across the U.S., lines got longer and customers got more frustrated.

Recently, to combat long lines and payments fatigue, financial, merchant service and mobile payment company Square rolled out a firmware update to its chip payment terminals. The update reportedly cuts down the average processing time for chip and contactless card payments from 4.2 to 3.6 seconds.

While 0.6 seconds may not seem like much, it adds up quickly.

“Every extra millisecond consumers have to wait to pay is bad,” Square spokesperson Edie Campbell-Urban told Yahoo Finance. “These seconds we’ve chipped away matter a lot to both the customer and business owner handling hundreds of transactions a day.”

Campbell-Urban noted that while Square believes that contactless payments are the future in the U.S., the payment processing company has focused on making chip-card processing speeds faster to cut down on long lines for their sellers as part of a broader push to enable the retail industry.

Contactless credit cards and mobile wallet use have seen a slow rate of adoption in the U.S., though the numbers are growing. According to data from ABI Research, annual shipments of contactless cards in the U.S. are expected to increase to 330 million units by the end of 2020, up from 25 million units in 2015, to account for 55 percent of all new credit and debit cards.

Back in February, Square launched an inventory management tool for the retail industry as well as a retail point of sale aimed at better customer engagement and enhancing the checkout experience — providing instant customer profiles automatically created with every accepted card transaction, helping retailers keep track of customer information and purchase history.



The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.

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