Even before the EMV liability shift for tier-one merchants, there was another slow but steady payments revolution underway. A large number of companies had introduced mobile payment platforms that allowed consumers to use their smartphones or other connected devices to make purchases at checkout instead of swiping their cards in the traditional fashion. Interestingly, it seems these two technologies are helping to boost each other's adoption rates in something of a mutually beneficial relationship.
Recent data suggests that the vast majority of businesses large and small still haven't moved to adopt point-of-sale devices capable of conducting EMV transactions, perhaps due to the initial frustration consumers had with these platforms, according to a report from Payments Source. Consumers have stated some discomfort with the fact that a chip-and-PIN purchase takes as much as 30 seconds to complete, while mobile transactions are tap-and-go, and therefore take about as long as traditional credit card swiping.
The argument for mobile first?
Indeed, that could serve to boost NFC enrollment among smaller companies in particular, while they may prefer to wait and see on EMV, the report said. Of course, the liability shift for smaller companies when it comes to the latter payment type may still be a few years off, depending upon the industries in which they operate, so that is another consideration that must be taken into account when trying to figure out the root causes of slower adoption.
It's also worth noting that some have mentioned EMV as something of a transitional payment platform between traditional card swiping and mobile purchases becoming the norm. It's also possible that as consumers become more accustomed to both types of newer payment system, they simply choose the one they prefer. And as more companies of all sizes adopt next-generation payment platforms in general, it's likely that people are simply going to have either-or options just about anywhere they choose to shop.
On the other hand
Meanwhile, though, it's also worth noting that the use of non-traditional payment methods like mobile payments could help to normalize the use of things like EMV even as more consumers catch on just because it's something they use in their everyday lives. That may be particularly true as payment processing giants like Visa, MasterCard, and American Express move to make EMV a quicker process that should - in theory - lead to less frustration for consumers.
At this point, many retailers haven't yet upgraded to point-of-sale devices capable of handling either or both of EMV and mobile payment processing. What they may need to keep in mind is that they have extra incentive to do so because the security provided by these two types of transactions significantly outstrips that of traditional credit card payments. That, in turn, provides more safety for the entire payments ecosystem, from processors to merchants to consumers themselves.