Chip cards are more popular three years after introduction

They're increasingly viewed as faster and more convenient, survey finds

Sabrina Karl
Personal Finance Writer
Data whiz and visual storyteller


When chip-enabled credit and debit cards began rolling out in the U.S. in 2015, the transition was a bumpy one. Among the biggest problems was how long chip transactions took to complete, causing considerable dissatisfaction among both consumers and retailers, to the point that many stores had customers just swipe their card instead. 

Three years later, that customer experience – and subsequently the acceptance of chip cards – has improved substantially, according to the latest annual survey by Fiserv. 

The financial services technology firm found that although more consumers still rate magnetic stripe or swipe cards as the fastest payment type (chosen by 32 percent), the share who say chip cards are fastest rose from 15 percent last year to almost a quarter of respondents this year (24 percent). 

Chip cards are also gaining ground in consumers’ minds in terms of convenience. In 2017, more than twice as many Americans said swipe cards were the most convenient payment versus those who named chip cards (45 versus 20 percent). But just a year later, the gap has mostly closed and the two cards are competing neck-and-neck for the convenience crown, at 35 percent for swipe cards and 32 percent for chip cards. 

Combining speed and convenience along with consumers’ understanding that chip cards provide enhanced security, the ultimate win of “most preferred” payment method went to chip cards in 2018, surpassing magnetic stripe cards’ dominance last year. The share of Americans who now say chip cards are their preferred payment type has climbed to 36 percent, versus a declining 30 percent for swipe cards. 

Fiserv’s 2018 “Expectations & Experiences: Household Finances” survey was conducted online by Harris Poll in August and September 2017, drawing on more than 3,000 U.S. adults who were screened to have a checking account and to have used it to pay a bill or make a purchase in the last month. After weighting the results to replicate U.S. population demographics, Fiserv released the findings on April 11. 

Chip cards are more popular now

See related: 8 FAQs about EMV chip cards, The big chip card switch: Living with EMV, Chip cards bring new fraud trends, More infographics

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Updated: 03-22-2019