Need a new credit card? Due to an ongoing microchip shortage, you might have to wait up to eight weeks for it to come in the mail, NPR reports.
Chip cards, first adopted stateside in 2015, provide an extra layer of protection, as it is more difficult for criminals to “skim” their encrypted data. That said, chip cards work similarly to older models except that they store a consumer’s account information on an encrypted silver or gold microchip instead of a magnetic strip.
These microchips have been scarce since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic thanks to a perfect storm of events, including increased demand for consumer electronics, decreased production, and supply chain disruptions.
Alain Martin, who represents payment card producer Thales, tells NPR that producers are also competing with auto manufacturers.
“They use the same kind of chip technology and so because of this competition, there's been greater demand, shorter supply, hence the delays.”
When it comes to credit and debit payments, the U.S. is behind the times, too. In China, for instance, digital wallets and QR codes predominate — so much so that even unhoused individuals ask for money via QR code in China, according to The Brookings Institution.
But until the mobile payment revolution takes off in the U.S., here’s what you can do if your credit or debit card is delayed:
Add your card to your mobile wallet before it expires; in many cases, your bank will automatically update the digital card so you can use it while you wait.
Update automatic payments associated with your old card.
Contact the card issuer to see if you can get a temporary card.
Request expedited shipping