More good news for EMV adoption

Category: Merchant Processing Industry

There's no question the rollout of the EMV liability shift left plenty of consumers and businesses alike disgruntled, but the time since then has seen a lot of those initial issues get smoothed over with relative ease. These days, the number of companies that are capable of accepting these types of purchases, and the number of consumers able to make them, has increased significantly, and the move toward an EMV-heavy payments ecosystem is now fully underway.

Today, about 80 percent of consumer credit and debit cards in the U.S. issued by MasterCard - the world's second-largest payment processor - and are able to complete chip-and-PIN transactions, according to the latest data from the payments giant. That number is up 88 percent from what was seen just last October, when the liability shift went into effect. Further, 1.7 million merchants across the country are now set up to accept such purchases, comprising about 3 in 10 retailers across the country. That number represents a 374 percent increase over the same period.

Chip cards are quickly becoming the most common way to make a card purchase.Chip cards are quickly becoming the most common way to make a card purchase.

What happened in the interim?
As adoption among both consumers and merchants has been picking up steam, and due to the fact that these transactions are far more secure than traditional credit card swiping, fraud has been curbed significantly in the past nine months or so, the report said. Indeed, the dollar value of counterfeit credit card suffered by the five largest MasterCard-equipped merchants in the U.S. has dropped 60 percent during that time.

"MasterCard has helped over 150 countries adopt EMV and, time and again, we've seen the same result: significant reductions in counterfeit card fraud," said Chiro Aikat, senior vice president of EMV product delivery for MasterCard. "The U.S. is one of the most complex markets in the world and great progress has been made in securing our payments ecosystem in a short amount of time. It's rewarding for the industry to start seeing signs that merchants, issuers and consumers can be freed from the burdens of card fraud."

More issues being addressed
Meanwhile, though, there are still some hurdles when it comes to more widespread EMV acceptance among consumers and businesses, and one of them relates to the amount of time these transactions take, according to Payments Source. To that end, all three of the nation's largest payment processors - Visa, MasterCard, and American Express, respectively - are developing software that handles these transactions more quickly.

Stephanie Ericksen, vice president of risk products at Visa Inc., told the site that its Quick Chip system is still being tested in the real world before a broader rollout, but is working as expected. This may also be good news because it allows stores that haven't yet adopted EMV - for whatever reason - to jump straight to the faster processing times.

The fact is that EMV is catching on and is expected to become nearly omnipresent among merchants accepting credit card transactions over the next few years alone. As such any businesses, large or small, that remain on the fence about a switch may want to get involved as soon as possible.