Chip shortage could hit card issuers

Image of microchip on credit card

For months we’ve been hearing about chip shortages in relation to trucks and electronics. So far, the financial services industry has (mercifully) been relatively unaffected by the chip shortage.

However, based on this article from FIS, the chip shortage could affect credit and debit cards that have, well, an EMV chip in them. The article doesn’t mention it, but the unavailability of cards could be especially messy if a chip shortage coincides with a major data breach that requires re-issuing a large number of cards. A situation like that could hasten the adoption of cardless–tokenized–payment systems, such as Apple Pay.

The article suggests making sure your credit union has a 12-18 month supply of cards on hand now, before the shortage begins. That feels like a game of hot potato that could possibly produce a rush on cards and accelerate the beginning of scarcity, but I also wouldn’t want to be the credit union left holding that potato, unable to get new cards for my members. 

Aside from ensuring a good supply of cards, it may also be a wise idea to ensure that payment channels that don’t require cards–tokenized systems–are greased and ready to go.