Here's why so many retailers still aren't ready to accept chip credit cards

A credit card with chip technology.
(Image credit: Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

New chip-enabled credit cards are supposed to be safer to use than the old kind that have to be swiped, but several big retailers across the United States have been slow to adopt this new standard.

Edgar Dworsky of ConsumerWorld.org decided to survey 48 national and regional chains to see if they had payment terminals that accepted smart cards; he told NBC News that while most had terminals with chip card slots, they didn't work, and just 10 chains — Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowe's, Macy's, Old Navy, Rite Aid, Sam's Club, Target, Walgreens, and Walmart — have enabled the chip card function. Although not required by law, retailers were urged to start accepting chip cards by Oct. 1; CVS told NBC News they'll be ready by the end of 2016, and a Bed Bath & Beyond spokesperson said the company will have the terminals up in the beginning of next year with protections "that go above and beyond the chip-and-sign process."

Why have these retailers been so slow to embrace the new card readers? They're expensive to install, experts say, and employees have to be trained. New software has to be integrated, and the payment system needs to be certified. The National Retail Federation's Mallory Duncan says it takes an average of 19 months to get the new system up and ready to go, and many retailers decided to wait until after the holiday season to make the switch. "Most sane individuals are not going to be ripping out terminals, installing new ones, and testing them out at the busiest time of the year," she said.

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