Sometimes I miss writing checks. Or, at least some aspects of writing checks such as having a ready record of my purchases and being able to know how much I’m paying. With a card, you’re always at their mercy. I definitely do NOT miss waiting in line while some little old lady, or man, takes ten minutes to meticulously script their check and then another five minutes to record it in their register. Check writing was never intended to be an art form.
As you may be able to tell, waiting is most assuredly not my thing. So, years ago, when debit cards made their debut, the time saving factor is what got me on board because, as I’ve said before, I’m not that fond of change either. But when there is a purpose or a benefit to the change, I’m a little more accepting of change. And in this case, debit cards were much faster and more convenient.
Obviously, the banking industry did not transition from checks to debit cards solely for my convenience. As with any technological advancement, the driving force is to make things cheaper, easier, or faster for the business and not necessarily for the consumer. Since processing checks is extremely expensive, debit cards dramatically reduced the cost per transaction. The fact the cards saved me (and everyone else) time was just an added bonus.
But now, the powers that be have made another change; a change that a lot of us find very frustrating. If you haven’t guessed, I’m referring to the chip that has been added to debit and credit cards. It’s not that I’m against an added layer of safety, which is how the chipped cards are being billed. Anything that keeps thieves away from my money is fine with me. (Although, I wonder how much protection a chip actually provides. Anyone who steals my card is going to get the chip too. The two sort of go together). My complaint, and that of many consumers, pertains to the added hassle of WAITING for the card reader to recognize, read, and then verify the card before completing the sale. This has easily added 1 to 2 minutes to EVERY SINGLE transaction. Multiply that by a few million transactions per day and you have several thousand hours of lost time every day.
Okay, it hasn’t affected any of us quite that drastically—yet. But not everyone has a card with the chip in it—yet. And not every store has a chip reader—yet. For now, I tend to use and old card that doesn’t cause me any delay. But as fast as they are replacing everyone’s cards, it won’t be long before that won’t work. Then, I’ll be waiting with the rest of the world’s population.
The credit card companies do not seem at all concerned with our wasted time or our annoyance. They are saving money and the fact we, the customers, are negatively affected doesn’t matter. So, what to do? I guess we could all just put up with it; just figure it’s one of those things we can’t do anything about. Eventually, we’ll get used to the idea of our purchases taking three times as long as they should. After all, we’re saving the credit card companies millions and all it’s costing us is a little time.
Or, we could go back to writing checks! ~
Bruce A. Borders is the author of more than a dozen books, including: Inside Room 913, Over My Dead Body, The Journey, Miscarriage Of Justice, The Lana Denae Mysteries, and The Wynn Garrett Series. Available in ebook at www.amazon.com/Bruce-A.-Borders/e/B006SOLWQS and paperback on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-a-Million. Bruce A. Borders is a proud member of Rave Reviews Book Club.