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Insight Center Community Bank

Industry knowledge to help you grow your business

My First EMV and the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Self-serve station at Wal-mart. I had a gallon of transmission fluid and some aftershave. One of those late night shops.

Swiped my card, and got a prompt about hitting “OK” with instructions.

I looked again and wondered if I had swiped the non-mag side, so I swiped again carefully.

Same error message. I read it more carefully and saw it said “insert in bottom.”

I realized it was my new Amex chip card and I needed to do the new insert thing, but the self-serve station was hanging vertical, which made that awkward.

That’s when the young girl with the dragon tattoos around her forearms started walking over to me. She held out her hand to take the card from me.

“No…” I said in a friendly way, “I need to figure this out myself.”

I looked down, and saw the slot on the bottom, thought about which end should go in… certainly the chip end, inserted, and watched the transaction start working. I pulled the card out.

Error message: “Transaction cancelled.”

“You have to leave it in,” said the reserved dragon girl.

I inserted it and left it in this time until the transaction was complete, the two of us watching. Hoping.


The dragon girl wandered back to her station a few feet away.

“I guess that was better,” I said.

“It’s supposed to be safer,” she said. Humbled, I decided not to bring up any of my EMV stories. This was her turf.

It was about midnight. I didn’t ask her about her dragon tattoos. She didn’t ask me about my transmission fluid and aftershave.