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Days Numbered For Magnetic Strips As Companies Begin Circulating 'Chip Cards'

(CBS) -- You've probably already received some new, more secure "chip card" credit or debit cards in the mail.

But you can't use them yet at very many places.

CBS 2's Dorothy Tucker takes a look at where retailers stand less than a month from the switchover deadline -- and what it means to you if they don't make it.

At Target, the new credit card chip reader is much appreciated.

Shopper Johanna Zawada says: "It makes me feel much more secure."

That's because she was among the 40 million victims of Target's data breach in 2013.

"It's frustrating, not feeling like you have that security when you use your credit card or debit card," she says.

Target recently turned on its card readers, one of the first merchants to do so. Come Oct. 1, if a merchant's system is hacked they pay for it. So far, less than half have converted. Why the lag?

"Because it's a very big conversion," anti-fraud expert Bill Kresse says. "They have to get the hardware in place. They have to get the software in place. They have to get the people trained."

So who's ready? Who's not?

CBS 2 did a quick check on who plans to meet the deadline. Managers at Walgreens, Jewel and Home Depot say their stores will be ready. J.C. Penney's and Meijer were not sure. Macy's is aiming for the end of October, and Mariano's says sometime next year.

"It's an extra step if you have to pay in cash, which would be frustrating. My business would probably go elsewhere," card user Megan Leahey says.

Major chains aren't the only ones under pressure to install chip readers.

"Oh, I'm going to get it," food truck operator Mohamed Beydoun says. "I already ordered it, I'm just waiting for it to come in."

Experts say consumers are ready to use the more secure credit cards. But so far, only 200 million of the 1.2 billion cards have been issued. Another 400 million chip cards should be in the mail by the end of the year.

"If they use the card without the chip, then they have the same vulnerabilities that they have today," Randy Vanderhoof, Director of the EMV Migration Forum, says.

However, there are some places you'll have no choice but to continuing swiping. Gas pumps and ATMs don't have to convert until 2016. But experts expect them to switch as soon as possible.

"Otherwise, the bad guys are going to hone in on them," Kresse says.

If you don't have your new card yet, experts recommend you call your bank. For more information about the technology, click here.

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