I received my new EMV chip-embedded credit card in the mail yesterday, preparing me for the mandated shift that was to occur by last October.  It got me thinking about the massive scale logistics involved in converting a credit-card-happy country to a new payment system.

How would you like to be the one in charge of getting an estimated 1.2 billion credit cards upgraded and delivered?  Worse yet, you could be stuck with the bill which is estimated to be $3.50/card. You can do the math.

As I cut up my old card and tossed it, I was also struck by the amount of non-biodegradable waste that this conversion is going to cost.  Several landfills could be at capacity with just the 1.2 billion outdated cards, let alone all the envelopes and instructions and accompanying literature to distribute them.  

It reminds me of the slow but eventual conversion from 8-tracks to cassettes to CDs and from VHS to DVD to BlueRay, and all the media and accompanying players that are filling trash dumps across the globe. Now so many outlets won’t accept televisions or computers for donations as the technology changes so quickly as to make the previous models undesirable.

Without a doubt, the advances in credit card security, music quality, television picture clarity and word processing are all monumental, and maybe even worth the massive cost that they entailed to enact. Just keep the picture of 1.2 billion cards in your head the next time you advocate for a system-wide change. There are implications far down the line that you may not initially consider that are worth a second thought.

— beth triplett

Source: 8 FAQs about EMV credit cards by Sienna Kossman on creditcards.com

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