Visa, Walmart Speed Up Checkout for Chip Cards

Changes seek to fix the transaction time for EMV chip-enabled credit and debit cards.

April 21, 2016

NEW YORK – Shoppers could get a few extra seconds of their lives back at the checkout. Visa announced this week that it is launching software that could trim the time it takes for a chip card to make a payment.

Visa’s Quick Chip specification is available free-of-charge to payment processors, acquiring banks and other payment networks to offer to merchants. The upgrade streamlines the processing of chip card transactions to enable customers to dip and remove their EMV chip card from the terminal, typically in two seconds or less, without waiting for the transaction to be finalized. The enhancement requires a software update to the merchant’s card terminal or POS system.

“Visa is advancing a streamlined approach to chip transactions to make them faster and more efficient, while still providing a safe and secure experience,” said Mark Nelsen, senior vice president of Risk Products and Business Intelligence, at Visa Inc.

Visa says that Quick Chip helps facilitate the payment industry’s transition to EMV in the United States, noting that so far, more than 265 million Visa credit and debit chip cards have been issued to cardholders. In addition, more than one million merchants have chip-enabled terminals, or roughly 20% of all merchant locations. Merchants interested in implementing Quick Chip should contact their payment processor or acquiring bank. Additional technical documentation is available at

In the retail arena, Walmart also announced that it is taking steps to speed up the transaction time for customers using chip cards. The Wall Street Journal reports that the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer has “lopped off” 11 seconds from the chip-card transaction time at checkout. For one, the company has eliminated the prompt asking customers to confirm the transaction amount.

The news source notes that the changes by Visa and Walmart “are a reflection of the widespread consternation that has greeted the new [EMV] cards, which offer better security than the older ones but require more technology that slows transaction speeds.”

The speed delays at checkout have also slowed merchants’ ability to move customers quickly and efficiently through the checkout. “Overall, there was some merchant dissatisfaction with how long it was taking to process the transaction,” Ellen Richey, Visa’s vice chairman of risk and public policy, told the news source.

The Wall Street Journal references a JDA Software Group Inc. study, which found that using a chip card typically added 8 to 12 seconds per checkout. “It’s reasonable to think the machine is adding about 4 to 6 seconds,” Marty Reynolds, vice president of retail solutions for JDA, told the news source.