EMV rollout gaining ground

Category: Payment Processing Technologies

Over the past several months, many consumers might have wondered why some stores have given them the ability to use their chip cards, while others have not. Some may even be frustrated with the lack of opportunity in this regard, because they've grown accustomed to using this type of transaction when they go to larger retailers. However, it's important to note that when stores have the right machines but still can't accept EMV transactions, it's not their fault.

Indeed, a lot of companies across the country now have the point-of-sale devices necessary to complete an EMV transaction, but are stuck in what is referred to as the certification bottleneck, according to a report from the National Retail Federation. Basically what that means is that companies have to prove they can handle these transactions safely before payment companies like Visa, MasterCard, and American Express will allow them to accept such purchases, but the approval process has proven quite long.

Chip cards are more secure, but consumers don't have as many options to use them as they'd like.Chip cards are more secure, but consumers don't have as many options to use them as they'd like.

A closer look at the issue
The recent poll by the NRF found that among merchants that do not yet accept EMV purchases, nearly 3 in 5 replied it was because they had not been certified by payment giants, despite having the equipment for some time. Indeed, 60 percent of those respondents said that they'd been in the EMV bottleneck for at least six months, so this is clearly an issue that is beyond the control of the merchants themselves.

This comes despite the fact that 72 percent of merchants now say they think adopting EMV is their top priority for 2016, the report said. In fact, 58 percent of respondents said they thought these hurdles were their biggest payments-related challenges.

Helping consumers understand
Of course, that's all pretty much behind-the-scenes issues that the average consumer probably doesn't know much about, according to a report from Nashville television station WSMV. All they might see when they get to the checkout counter is that there's a machine that can read a chip card, but with a sign or a word of caution from an employee saying it doesn't accept such transactions. One debit card user told the station that she doesn't even see why the chip cards are distributed if businesses can't handle them.

"A lot of times, the chip machine, it's not working," Cayce Price, a debit card user in Nashville, told the station. "So I don't understand the point of the chip. It is (frustrating) because they're saying that they're trying to make our bank accounts more secure, but you don't feel that way."

Fortunately, industry data suggests that by the end of this year, as many as 85 percent of all merchants should have gotten through the certification process and will be ready to handle the consumer demand, the report said.

With all this in mind, the faster businesses can get up to speed with the latest EMV technology so that they can get in and out of the certification process, the better off both they and their customers are likely to be going forward.