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Feb 20, 2003 to Feb 6, 2013

The Wonderful Chip Card

It’s more secure. It’s easier. It’s faster. Those were some of the claims of the innovators that brought us the chip card. You know, the bank card with the special chip embedded in it?

Early on, the chip card readers didn’t work. I would frequently be behind the early adopters at a supermarket when they’d try to use them. At the start, the readers weren’t set up, but even once they got going they had problems. Frequent re-trying of the card, or a call to a manager, would sometimes get it to work. Other times customers would simply dump their purchase and walk out in frustration.

Eventually the readers started working, but they are slow and clunky. They choose to yell at you - do not remove your card! - rather than apologize for the wait they inflict. It takes longer than before.

The choice of using debit or credit seems to be gone, at least from some locations. I never liked signing pieces of paper everywhere I bought something, so I was a fan of saying “debit” and just punching in my PIN number. Now I say “debit” and often have to sign pieces of paper, adding more time and scraps of useless paper.

At least it is more secure! Or is it? I was just notified by the bank that my brand new, secure chip card would be replaced. Two local, unidentified merchants had had security breaches on the scale that card replacement was the only option. This is just a few months after issuing the chip card in the first place.

I’m all for improvements, especially in security, but I’m not seeing the value of this. How exactly is this better for me?

"Mastercard, Visa, American Express.
I ain't got nuthin' 'against no credit cards,
but the cash is the best."

- Chuck Brown.


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The new Discover chip debit

The new Discover chip debit cards issued from Brattleboro Savings and Loan are particularly frustrating. When they made the switch from MasterCard to Discover I discovered quickly that if you use it at PriceChopper you are not given the option of "credit or debit" - you only get to use it as a credit card. So, if you happen to need an extra $20 you're out of luck. I also had trouble with a couple of my online bills who do not accept Discover for whatever reason. I seldom carry large amounts of cash with me and not having the option of being able to get cash back is. at times, pretty annoying. It means I then have to make a separate trip to the bank or use the ATM in the grocery store and pay a $3.00 fee. I've talked to the manager at PriceChopper who says the fault lies with the bank; I've talked with BS&L who says the Brattleboro PriceChopper never finished the process to accept the new cards as debit.
I always seem to get behind someone who hasn't figured out how to insert the card and then I waste more time signing.Several local businesses aren't "chip friendly" and you still end up swiping. Ahh..technology- it's great until it isn't.


Please come in for an upgrade

If it isn't the bank's fault, and isn't the store's fault, then it must be your fault. : )


I suspected as much

Story of my life, Chris...


Chip reader technology behind the times

Our credit card processing company still doesn't have a chip reader that will interface with their own online computer-based credit card system, so they supplied us with a regular free-standing reader just for chip cards. Which means we end up having to add up two separate credit card totals at the end of the day. Nuisance.


A step backwards

As the discover card that was issued by a local bank was mentioned I was reminded of a recent trip to Nova Scotia. "Mrs.Mike" was not able to use her "local great bank for the community" card anywhere because they don't accept Discover. Very frustrating. Fortunately I use a large corporate type bank that ibrattsters would hate. But that card works just fine everywhere.


One more wonderfulness

As I was setting the PIN on my replacement card today, I noticed the bank machine requires you to insert and remove the card twice.

Stick it in and it says take it out, then it says put it back in again. Then it works.

Readers barely work, extra steps, security breach requiring new card right away.... what again is the benefit of the chip?


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