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Abbie Moore, left, accepts a credit card payment from David Fant while at Elder's Ace Hardware in Red Bank, Tenn., in this, February 10, 2015, file photo.
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Keith Sanford, Chattanooga market president for First Tennessee Bank, said he has been testing the bank's chip-enabled card for the last three weeks and found that several retailers aren't ready to switch over.

"I think there will be merchants who were caught off guard," he said Wednesday. "Some merchants aren't fully aware."

Sanford said a lot of banks are issuing chip cards as the old ones expire. He said debit cards with the chip don't start until next year.

Kevin Stafford, Food City's director of front-end operations and e-commerce, said it's difficult to obtain hardware and software related to the chip-enabled cards.

"The availability of hardware is difficult. Software companies are struggling to meet code specs," he said. "We're not going to turn it on [today]."

But Stafford added that liability shifts from cardholders to retailers on any fraudulent activities.

He expects Food City to turn on its system early next year.

Industry experts estimate 60 percent of card- holders still don't have chip-enabled cards, and that only 27 percent of merchants are meeting the deadline.

"We're among the majority," Stafford said.

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