Gas stations face expensive card reader deadline


By Russ and Tiña De Maris

Planning on “sliding” your credit card when filling up your RV? That won’t last long, as Visa and Mastercard have drawn a line in the sand with gas stations across the country. Come October, all gas pumps that take credit and debit cards will need to accept “chip” cards. Those that don’t will be liable for any fraudulent card transactions. It’s a demand that’s thrown the convenience store industry into a complete tizzy.

This isn’t a new issue – other businesses that do card transactions have for the most part already made the change. But fuel sellers have been dragging their feet, and have managed to pull delays from the credit card industry – until now. Caught with their fuel hoses in a knot, gas retailers are going to find it hard to meet the mandate on time, as with so little time to make the change remaining, there aren’t enough technicians to perform the work, and not enough equipment in inventory to make the changeover.

Just how many gas retailers need to make the change? Last year, only about 30 percent of those responding to a survey said they’d upgraded their pumps to the new EMV chip technology. It’s an expensive changeover to be sure, but the costs of paying for fraudulent transactions needs to be weighed in the thinking. Projections from the credit card industry suggest a fuel station that doesn’t make the change, but bears the cost of fraud on its own, could be in deep. With the industry seeing an estimated $451 million in fraud transactions in 2020, a gas station could easily see $201,000 in fraudulent transactions over the next seven years. The cost of converting a gas pump to a chip-reading system is said to run $6,000 to $10,000 per pump.


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I have been to only one gas station that had chip readers working. I had to insert my card into the same slot as always but leave it there. Now the mag strip passed all the way into the reader so isn’t that still susceptible to skimming?


Cant beat the chip cards . you have to use a pass code every time you use it so it is harder for the crooks. We have had that system in Canada for over 10 years now , It can still be tampered but not as easy. All card units are chip not just gas stations. When you go into a bank you have to put your card in so they know who you are.

Bob C

How does one find the stations that have already converted. You can’t ask the attendants as they say what they think you want to hear (ask me how I know). The very new pumps that have been installed have telltale signs. But if an older pump has been converted then what. The only thing I have read is the card will have to be insert horizontally rather than vertically. But does that go for the older pumps also?

Dave W

Up here in Canada we’ve had chip card readers for several years. U.S. vendors are way behind the times with this technology. However during our recent Florida trip we noticed that more pumps accepted our chip card than on past visits.


Stop the mathematical ignorance!!

The card companies mandate a change that the gas station pays for. Let’s say 8 pumps, $80,000 to upgrade. Guaranteed 80K loss to each station. If they DON’T upgrade, they MAY (?) be unlucky enough to lose a couple K before it’s discovered and fixed (skimming is done by a physical device; preventing skimming is done by credit companies only honoring chip reader transactions). I say MAY because MASSIVELY most pumps aren’t attacked. I’d like to see the figures for the cost to upgrade ALL pumps vs fraud from not upgrading ANY. I’d bet the per-pump balance would be obscene.

Bill P

I always go inside to pay when we fuel. (My wife has to pee anyway, so there’s plenty of time) and I have my card set to push notifications every time it’s used. Too many friends have had their cards skimmed and while the banks have generally been pretty good about it, getting a new card when you’re on the road is time consuming and a pain in the butt.

Bob Godfrey

I’ve been to several gas stations recently that have the chip reader mechanisms installed but they are not hooked up ………… not very helpful.


This will definitely reduce fraudulent transactions at the pump, however be aware that this fraud will shift to “card not present” transactions (online sales), where chip technology is not used. Historically this has happened recently in Canada and other countries. Having worked with the USSS on counterfeit fraud, be aware this is most prevalent in CA, FL and Texas which makes up almost 50% of skimming fraud in the US. As mentioned in the article the demand of technicians required for over 1.5m pumps is the main reason the oil industry is the last sector to adopt chip at outside terminals. They want this as much as we do. You can always go inside and pay for your fuel, since all inside terminals are chip capable. Hope this helps.


It’s about time


I can see this going another way. Just like the truck stops have been doing for some time, charging higher prices for credit than cash or debit.


Maybe we reside in Oz but I can’t recall a machine which didn’t accept the chip. In my experience, chip readers are pretty universal.

Will B.

Good deal. Should minimize skimmers, I’m hoping.