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Chip Cards Cause Headaches at Stores Across America

  • Just 20 percent of payment terminals activated by end of 2015
  • Laggard retailers jostle to implement amid liability shift
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Source: Getty Images

A majority of credit cards in the U.S. now contain a chip designed to add more security -- yet most payment terminals at retailers can’t read the new technology. And the situation isn’t going to improve anytime soon.

Credit-card networks began pitching chip cards years ago to protect against counterfeits, and merchants were supposed to join banks and payment processors by Oct. 1, or face liability for some fraudulent charges that occur in their stores. By the end of last year, only about 20 percent of terminals had been activated to process them, according to Alex Johnson, a director at researcher Mercator Advisory Group. In contrast, almost 60 percent of credit cards issued by banks are embedded with a chip.