Compare Card Readers: Which Is the Fastest?

Compare Card Readers: Which Is the Fastest?

Find yourself tapping your foot impatiently, attempting small talk with the cashier or darting your eyes anywhere but at her? Sadly, awkward interactions while waiting for a card reader to complete your chip-card transaction are now expected at checkout.

The overall time lag drills down to the science of EMV transactions which, unfortunately, has triggered some serious uproar among both consumers and businesses ... more on that later. To start, let’s jump right into the recorded times for a card reader comparison — who doesn’t love hard data?

EMV Card Reader Comparison

There’s a lot of research on EMV processing speeds, and the results vary, but here’s what you need to know — our Smart Terminal runs EMV transactions 6.3x faster than the slowest terminal speed, according to UL Transaction Security’s field analysis:

Source Recorded Processing Speed
PayJunction (Average) 3.61 seconds
UL Transaction Security (Fastest) 4.4 seconds
UL Transaction Security (Average) 11 seconds
UL Transaction Security (Slowest) 22.6 seconds
Note: The average is calculated by adding up all the speeds in the set and dividing by the number of transactions in that set.

To compare card readers in terms of business impact, consider this: If you’re averaging 100 transactions daily, you could save up to 31.6 minutes a day by using the fastest card reader available. That may not seem like much, but over a week it amounts to roughly 3.7 hours. Consider that time over a year and you could free up 192.4 hours waiting on EMV transactions.

There’s no bias here, these discrepancies simply reflect the quality of EMV card reader software. But why are EMV transactions so much slower than swiped transactions, overall? It’s simple (kind of)!

The Science of Chip Card Transactions

When a chip card is inserted, the chip generates a one-time code that is sent to the bank via the card network. The bank confirms the code and then sends the verification back to the EMV card reader software. Piece of cake, right? Wrong. A lot more technical work goes into chip card transactions than magnetic stripe cards.

When a magnetic stripe card is swiped, the same information is sent to the bank every time. There is no back-and-forth communication between the card reader and the bank. In contrast, chip cards require a constant circle of communication. These communication points can include the EMV card reader software, a Payment Gateway, a point-of-sale system and multiple banks. With more involvement, approving transactions takes longer.

Bypass EMV Card Reader Frustration

Since the shift to EMV chip cards, both consumers and businesses have become increasingly frustrated with slower processing speeds. In April 2016, Field Agent conducted a survey that confirmed most users find processing a chip card slower than swiping, and retailers’ top frustration is slow processing speeds. The audit also found chip card users would rather swipe than insert their chip cards, which could result in a new type of chargeback.

Although card issuers are trying to speed up chip cards, a slow card reader won’t make a difference to upset customers at checkout. Your time is precious, especially at work. Why waste it behind a slow, subpar card reader? Stop customers from huffing and puffing at checkout and start saving time, get the Smart Terminal today.

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Experiencing additional frustrations with EMV transactions? Have a venting session below! We’d love to help you let off some steam.

About Ursula Librizzi

Ursula is the sales and marketing operations manager for PayJunction. She oversees daily marketing tasks and liaisons between the sales and marketing departments.

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