We’ve Chipped Away At EMV Transaction Speed, And We’re Not Done

By: Jesse Dorogusker, Square Hardware Lead

It’s Sunday afternoon and you’re in line at the grocery store, waiting (and waiting) as your new chip card sits stuck in the credit card machine being processed. On the bright side, you’ve now bonded with the checkout clerk. On the other hand, you both agree that chip card speed sucks.

Consumers and business owners alike loathe waiting for chip cards to process. And we, at Square, feel the same. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Today we’re releasing an update to our new contactless and chip reader that reduces transaction speed (the time from when you’ve dipped your card to when the payment is complete) to 4.2 seconds. That’s 25% faster than our previous low of 5.7 seconds. That’s good, but we know you want it to be faster, and so do we. Our goal is to keep chipping away at this time until we get it to around 3 seconds, and we hope to get there soon. (News agencies report average chip speeds anywhere from 8 seconds to 13 seconds, though there isn’t one consistent methodology for measuring transaction speed.)

Square is in a unique position to make EMV card processing faster. First, we build our own hardware, so we use custom-designed components to maximize efficiency resulting in better performance. 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.

Speed matters to us. Because it matters to our sellers. We want to help keep their lines moving so they don’t miss a sale. And it goes beyond transaction speed: local business owners should be able to pay their employees, deposit their funds, and track their sales fast too.

We’re committed to saving time for our sellers and the customers they serve. Conversations with business owners should be about the delicious cheeseburger you ate or the new haircut you just stopped in for, not the amount of time it takes to pay for them.

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