Square's contactless and chip card readers are getting a software update that the company claims will reduce transaction times by 25 percent.
The mobile payments company run by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey says its card readers typically take about 5.7 seconds to process a chip-card transaction, but that the new software will cut the time down to 4.2 seconds.
There isn't a definitive measurement of how long chip-card transactions take to process, but the average estimate is somewhere between 8 seconds to 13 seconds. Ultimately, Square hopes to shave transaction times on its own readers down to around 3 seconds.
Most of the complaints surrounding chip card usage in the US have revolved around speed. Consumers were used to simply swiping the magnetic stripe on the back of the card and then putting the card away -- but chip cards have to be left inside the reader while the embedded chip verifies the transaction.
Financial intuitions were bracing for frustration from consumers and businesses during the switch to chip cards, which began last October, but the security benefits were expected to overshadow any convenience issues. Yet according to a survey by Harbortouch earlier this year, nearly four times as many consumers preferred speedy processing times above chip card security.
"Consumers and business owners alike loathe waiting for chip cards to process," said Square's hardware lead Jesse Dorogusker, in a blog post.
"Square is in a unique position to make EMV card processing faster. First, we build our own hardware ... And second, we build the software too: as one cohesive solution, we can make sure all aspects of processing a payment integrate seamlessly, and prioritize for speed and ease of use."
Square is not alone in efforts to reduce chip card transaction times. Earlier this year Visa debuted its Quick Chip process that it said would make the checkout experience with chip cards comparable to magnetic stripe transactions.
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