Publix Super Markets is finally installing readers for credit cards that have security chips.
“We are aggressively installing chip readers in our company-wide rollout without sacrificing the positive shopping experience of our customers and associates,” Publix spokesman Brian West said Tuesday. The first chip readers were installed in July, he said. West declined to say when the readers would be on-line for all of the Lakeland-based grocer’s 1,000-plus locations.
Other retailers, from Walmart and Target to independent stores like Buddy Brew Coffee installed the readers last year. In May, Publix said it was working on upgrading its computer systems.
The technology is intended to better protect consumers from hackers and thieves, especially after major data breaches at Target, Home Depot and other retailers over the last several years.
Jason Oxman, head of the Electronic Transactions Association trade group wrote in a blog post last week that it could be some time before the chip technology is universal: “We expected the transition to take at least five years … But the pace of adoption here has been fast. In less than one year since the transition started, three-quarters of Americans already have at least one chip card.”
About 30 percent of merchants in the U.S. currently have upgraded to chip readers, according to the ETA.
Oxman said that the industry is working on fixing two major complaints with the chip readers: speed and sound. “We are rolling out new terminal software upgrades to speed up the checkout time to two seconds or less. So you’ll have less time for awkward small talk with the checkout clerk,” he said.
As for the loud beeping sound the chip terminals make when it’s time to remove the cards, he said it “won’t be necessary when we all get used to the new system.”