EMV adoption picks up even as misinformation remains

Category: Merchant Processing Industry

One of the biggest issues that all parties in the EMV rollout nationwide have faced in recent months is the fact there's so much incorrect information out there. And while there are certainly legitimate complaints that some merchants and consumers may have about how the liability shift was implemented, and how it impacted their daily lives, the fact is that many of the issues now being considered here are a bit overblown.

The liability shift for the nation's largest retailers took place last October, and yet after ten-plus months there are still some lingering issues in the newly evolving payments ecosystem that need to be addressed, according to a report from Security InfoWatch. Part of this issue is the fact that the EMV certification process can take months for many retailers, and that leads them to live in a sort of middle ground in which they have the point-of-sale devices to adopt EMV, but haven't been cleared by payment processing companies to use that safer technology.

More consumers are using EMV, but some misconceptions still persist.More consumers are using EMV, but some misconceptions still persist.

What does this mean?
Consequently, many companies have the right devices in place but have to affix small signs to them advising customers that the chip card readers, which have certainly become more ubiquitous in the past year, can't actually be used yet, the report said. That can create some frustration, and also keeps the risk of card-present fraud high even for those who have at least taken the right steps toward adoption.

"As it's easy to spoof a signature, the security of the chip can be undercut," Dick Mitchell, solutions director for Randstad Technologies, told the site. "Chip-and-PIN cards are more expensive to issue, but if security is the primary aim, chip-and-PIN is the way to go."

Other problems
Meanwhile, some consumers may still shy away from using EMV whenever possible due to a lot of misinformation that might be out there about the process, according to the urban myth debunking site Snopes. Indeed, a recent rumor started to circulate via email that what the liability shift actually meant for everyday consumers. The email said that change meant was that if cardholders had an EMV card stolen and then used to commit card-present fraud (which is, of course, extremely unlikely unless a criminal somehow guesses a person's PIN code), that they would be liable for the cost of that bogus purchase.

This is obviously not the case, as the liability shift has no impact on consumers at all, the report said. Instead, it just means that stores that don't use EMV will be held financially responsible for purchases made with swiped cards, as opposed to payment processors, who used to bear that financial burden.

With all these issues in mind, it might be vital for merchants large and small to explain to consumers why certain EMV issues have arisen, and what that means for shoppers in particular. Given how much confusion and trepidation there has been in this regard, any efforts could go a long way toward assuaging people's concerns.