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rojo's avatar

Why does it take the machines longer to process a chipped credit card than one with the magnetic strip?

Asked by rojo (24159points) October 12th, 2015

Seems like with the strip you swipe and you are done, the approval is almost immediate but with the chip you have to leave it in the machine an inordinate amount of time.

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5 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

A mag strip has 2–3 lines of data, maximum 120 characters. Pretty much name, card number, expiration date. That’s it.

A chip (depending on the type) can hold up to 2000 characters of data. Same general info as above but then additional stuff – PIN (encrypted), in some cases last purchase info, and lots of other data.

So the chip has to read and process and encrypt and decrypt a whole chunk of additional stuff.

thorninmud's avatar

In swiping a card with a magnetic strip, the card’s information is sucked off into the reader terminal, so the card is no longer needed to complete the transaction. But that created an opportunity for theft; by hacking into that transfer point between card and reader, the account information could be captured.

With the chipped cards, the account information never enters the merchant’s system. Instead, the bank communicates directly with the chip to verify its authenticity, then issues a single-use encrypted code to the merchant authorizing the transaction. Since the bank needs to remain in contact with the chip until the transaction is finished, the card needs to stay in the terminal.

majorrich's avatar

The only place around here that uses the chip on my card is the ATM so far. getting the cash takes about the same amount of time, but the machine holds onto my card for the whole transaction.

trailsillustrated's avatar

Here, they all have chips. Under 100$, it’s instant. Over 100$, you swipe or put in your code. It’s fast.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

seems to be about the same to me

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