New credit cards: Swipe or Insert?

Micro Chip card

Many of you have the new type of credit cards that have a micro chip embedded in it. It’s a good way to secure your credit card from fraudulent users. Just another security layer to make your life easy. The problem here is the experience at the checkout counter. You are so used to “swipe” your card all your life. Suddenly you are required to “insert” your card. At the checkout you automatically swipe your card when all you want is to insert . A classic “Slip” just occurred. The poor store clerk corrects you, the customer, a millionth time to insert.

Here is the problem 2. Where to insert the card? Top, bottom or under? You fumble a bit and finally finds it on the device, somewhere under and bottom. This is actually a bad design of the console.  Most people won’t find it first time even with good labels showing where to insert. Also not all vendors place it in a most convenient place for you. It’s mostly surrounded by impulse items, making it crowded. This causes a delay at the checkout, frustrating the customers behind you and the poor checkout clerk. Rinse and repeat few hundred times a day, multiple locations all over the country. You know how much time will be wasted.

The better solution would be the insert mechanism be on the top and upside on the console. Think of inserting a straw in the drink cup. How difficult is it?  Just provide an insert slot next/near to the swipe slot. Visible and easily reachable at the eye level. Of course the console vendors don’t care about you the poor guy at the checkout lane. They design it in the best cost effective manner… for them. Your thoughts?

By planetpapi

Usability practitioner, works at State of Texas.


  1. I agree, this device is not user friendly. User doesn’t know how much time to leave the card in slot either.

  2. Agree absolutely with your observations on the poor design of chip based card checkout machines. Also your suggestion to correct is also very practical, visible and usable.

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