American Express joining push to speed up EMV transactions

Category: Merchant Processing Industry

Since the liability shift for tier-one merchants - which required them to rely on EMV purchases rather than traditional credit card swiping - went into effect late last year, there has been some difficulty in the change. Namely, consumers have been a little frustrated with the fact that EMV transactions seem to take a little longer than the swipe method to which hundreds of millions of people have grown accustomed over the past few decades. Now, more companies are moving to address those concerns.

It could perhaps be said that the world's three largest payment processors did not foresee the pushback against EMV on the grounds that it takes longer to complete each transaction, but now they are moving to address the issue. In the last month or two, both Visa and MasterCard - the world's first- and second-largest payment processors, respectively - announced plans to roll out faster EMV processing times. Now, American Express - the third-biggest such company - is doing so as well, the company announced.

More consumers could soon come around on faster EMV payments.More consumers could soon come around on faster EMV payments.

More details of the plan
The new Amex Quick Chip payment system will, like the offerings from Visa and MasterCard, reduce the amount of time consumers will have to leave their cards inserted into EMV-capable point-of-sale devices when making an in-store purchase, the report said. The key here is that it will do so while also upholding the security that comes with standard EMV transactions.

"Reducing friction for card members and merchants is a key priority for American Express," said Mike Matan, vice president of global network business for American Express. "Amex Quick Chip provides merchants operating in industries where fast checkout speed is critical with an option for ensuring card members can quickly and efficiently pay for purchases with their EMV chip cards."

Security is the big issue
Indeed, despite the fact that many people tend to get frustrated with the EMV process - at least prior to the rollout of these new, faster transaction speeds - the fact is that they are having a positive effect on the payments ecosystem, according to MarketWatch. The most recent data from Visa shows that counterfeit payment card fraud in the month of January alone - just eight weeks after the EMV liability shift happened - dropped 26 percent on an annual basis.

Another big hurdle, though, is that many small businesses still haven't moved to adopt EMV payment technology, and other are still stuck in the certification process, the report said. However, EMV enrollment through the end of January was still up about 700,000 in a four-month period, so clearly companies of all sizes are at least starting to get involved.

This kind of push on the part of retailers themselves might also be of benefit to the EMV payment ecosystem. The more people use and become familiar with these systems, the more likely they will be to accept the new paradigm this type of transaction offers. As such, any smaller retailers who haven't yet made the switch may want to consider doing so in the near future to tap into what could soon be growing demand.