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Walmart exec predicts Black Friday ‘anarchy’ caused by new credit cards

Published Oct 27th, 2015 8:30PM EDT
Walmart Black Friday Chip PIN Credit Card
Image: CTVNews

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Black Friday is fast approaching, which means millions of buyers will soon start hunting for online and in-store deals on a variety of products. However, holiday shopping might be a bit more problematic for both stores and their customers, with one Walmart executive expecting “anarchy” for this Black Friday season.

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That’s what Walmart payments executive John Drechny said at the Money 20/20 payments conference in Las Vegas on Monday, Re/code reports. The exec was referring to the October deadline for merchants to switch over to equipment that can handle both old credit and debit cards and the new, more secure, chip-and-PIN cards that many customers already have in their pockets.

“We’re forcing anarchy” on the payments world, Drechny said, expecting checkout problems this holiday season. Retail personnel and customers have to get used to the new payment system, one that has been in place for many years in other markets, but not the U.S.

Chip-and-PIN cards require the customer to enter a PIN when making a purchase and need special payment terminals.

Ironically, what caused this huge change in America when it comes to credit card security was the 2013 Black Friday season. That’s when Target suffered a major data breach, with hackers stealing tens of millions of old-style credit cards that can be easily cloned and used in the wild. The chip-and-PIN cards can’t be replicated with similar ease exactly because they have chips embedded in them.

Card issuers finally started giving customers secure cards this year, with retailers having an October 1st deadline to purchase equipment that can read them.

The Walmart exec said that the deadline isn’t exactly user-friendly, as the new chip-and-PIN tech might lead to longer wait times at checkout. He said that Walmart has been prepping for a long time and that the time a customer needs to check out with a chip card is down to one second today from 12 seconds a year ago. But smaller chains might that are just making the switch might not be as prepared.

Users can always choose to pay with mobile devices, including smartphones, as long as – you’ve guessed it – retailers have equipment that supports wireless payments.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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