Getting over the EMV frustration

Category: Merchant Processing Industry

Since the rollout of the EMV liability shift for large merchants late last year, a lot of consumers have gotten some up-close and personal experience with using a chip-and-PIN card to complete a transaction. And while adoption rates for EMV continue to surge forward, more anecdotal evidence suggests that shoppers still haven't necessarily warmed to the payment technology. The good news, though, is that payment processors have noted the initial discomfort and are moving to deal with those issues as soon as possible.

A lot of this, of course, can be chalked up to little more than growing pains, according to a report from the Credit Union National Association. EMV is a relatively new thing in the U.S., and while hundreds of millions of cards with the technology embedded have been in circulation for some time now, most people have had few to no options to use the system when making a purchase. With that in mind, many industry experts say that, as time goes on and people become more familiar with the system, it's more likely they're going to warm to it through familiarity.

EMV is moving in the right direction, but might need some additional boosts.EMV is moving in the right direction, but might need some additional boosts.

Concerns still linger
One of the biggest complaints consumers seem to share about EMV in general is that the process takes longer than swiping their credit or debit cards in the traditional way, the report said. In many cases, these transactions may take as much as 30 seconds. That's obviously a significant increase over the ability to swipe and have a card back in a wallet or purse within a second or two. Part of that problem is the perception forged by having to keep a card in a machine, but the world's largest payment processors are moving to fix that.

Visa, MasterCard, and American Express have all announced plans to roll out new systems that make each EMV purchase take far less time, more in line with traditional transactions, the report said. While this would not actually change the security level of these purchases, the benefit of the improved perception could be significant for the entire payments ecosystem.

Another lingering issue
In addition, though, there is a potential hurdle that gets back to consumers' familiarity, the report said. That's because the EMV certification process has been slow and created a massive bottleneck of companies looking to upgrade their payment systems, but haven't gotten through the various checkpoints. Payment giants are likewise working to make that process smoother as well, and that could allow people to use EMV more often in their everyday lives.

Certainly, those businesses that haven't yet taken the step to upgrade their payment systems may want to do so soon. Given the improved security the platform already provides, and the work from payment processors to make it quicker and easier to get set up in the first place, then complete transactions on an ongoing basis, the benefits significantly outweigh any potential reasons for hesitation that may remain.