New credit cards embedded with microchips promise to keep shoppers safe from identity theft, but between retailer worries and technology hiccups, it looks like the shift to the new readers needed to use them might be taking longer than expected.
The chip-enabled terminals you’re supposed to "dip" your card into at checkout may be in place at many stores, but still are not ready for business.
"It's just not ready," said hardware store employee Ricky Silverstein. "Our software company, it's just a big nut to crack for them and there's a lot to do and they're just not there yet."
Retailers across Southern California missed the Oct. 1 deadline to install the readers.
One study suggested that fewer than half of merchant payment terminals nationwide will have the necessary equipment installed by the end of the year and only 19 percent will actually be turned on and working.
"From a software perspective, there's a lot of steps that need to be done to load the software onto the device,” said Alex Johnson, a senior analyst for Mercator Advisory Group, a business management consulting firm.
"There's a lot of certification testing that needs to be done and that makes it extremely challenging to get it turned on."
Johnson predicts many retailers will delay the switch to EMV technology until after the holidays, concerned that it could interfere with the peak shopping season.
And at stores that do have readers up and running, shoppers should prepare to wait in line longer because chip card transactions take more time. Unlike the old magnetic strips, the chips generate a unique code, which is much more difficult to hack.
Experts said stores and customers should get used to the new way, because the added security of "dipping" as opposed to "swiping" is worth it.
"It is very important that consumers are very aware every time they swipe their card after October,"said Sean McQuay, a credit cards expert and content strategist for NerdWallet. "There’s a higher chance of it being skimmed after that date."
If you haven’t gotten your chip card yet, officials have asked consumers to beware of a new scam, linked to the rollout. Federal investigators said crooks are now sending phishing emails that ask consumers to click on a link in order to get their new card. Experts say no one should ever trust links sent from unfamiliar email addresses.