After something of a shaky start to the sizable push to launch widespread EMV adoption among both shoppers and merchants, things have started to turn around in the past few months. At this point, the effort seems to be paying off on both sides of the transaction equation, because both shoppers and retailers are starting to use these types of transactions more regularly. That, in turn, brings more safety to the entire payments ecosystem.
The latest data shows that through the end of June, there were about 326.8 million EMV-enabled Visa chip cards in circulation across the U.S., up from just 282.9 million at the end of April, and only 141.9 million through August 2015, according to the payment processing giant. Of that most recent number, 165.3 million were debit cards, and 161.5 million were credit cards. Further, it's worth noting that the entire U.S. only has a projected year-end population of 325 million or so, meaning that Visa now has at least one EMV card in circulation for every man, woman, and child nationwide.
Other details of the surge
In addition, June saw another 100,000 or so merchants across the country start accepting EMV transactions, the report said. As a consequence, more than 1.3 million retailers - about 28 percent of every one in the country - now accept these cards. In addition, more than 3 in every 4 enrolled businesses are either small or medium-sized companies.
As a result of all these changes, the number of EMV transactions in the U.S. is up to 483 million for the month of June, up from just 345 million two months earlier, and 55 million last August, the report said. As a consequence, 25 cents of every dollar spent on card purchases are now coming through EMV channels. In addition, it should come as no surprise that the number of counterfeit card fraud is down 35 percent for companies that accept such cards.
Some concerns still linger
However, while adoption is picking up, some merchants remain a little uneasy about the process, according to the clothing retail industry news site Apparel. Some of that wariness might be directly attributed to the new push to speed up transactions of this type. Visa, MasterCard, and American Express have all unveiled plans to significantly reduce the amount of time each individual EMV purchase takes, and some merchants may still think that could negatively affect the security of such a transaction.
However, those in the card processing industry say that there is no inherent difference in how these transactions will work, and that they merely create the appearance to consumers of faster transactions, even if the time they take doesn't actually change much internally. These transactions will be far more secure, sped-up or not, than traditional credit card swiping, and as such it's in the best interests of everyone in the payments ecosystem to move to adopt as soon as possible.