EMV still a big topic in the payments industry

Category: Payment Processing Technologies

After a year in the marketplace EMV feedback is positive

The talk in the payments sector about the effectiveness of the EMV liability shift and broader technology rollout is still significant, even more than a year after that change first went into effect. But instead of worrying about why the switch did or didn't work, the good news is that the talk these days is a lot more positive, and focuses around how to improve the EMV payment process for consumers and merchants alike.

One of the biggest reasons for this, of course, is that after a year, the majority of both consumers and larger retailers in particular are on board with EMV, and using it on a regular basis, according to a report from the Payments Journal. One recent study found that about 60 percent of Americans have at least one EMV-enabled card, and more than half of all credit card purchases could be made on EMV this year alone. Already, some 700 million EMV-enabled debit and credit cards have landed in consumers' wallets thanks to major rollout efforts by card issuers.

EMV is catching on, but some would like to see it do so more quickly.EMV is catching on, but some would like to see it do so more quickly.

Some issues still linger
Of course, because some merchants - particularly smaller ones - aren't up on EMV yet either due to their own reticence or difficulties getting through the certification process, questions remain about the efficacy of the liability switch, the report said. For instance, while in-store card fraud has been reduced nationwide, a lot of it has simply shifted to smaller companies that haven't adopted EMV yet.

Further, card-not-present fraud is on the rise for online retailers, has only risen 12 percent as criminals shift their focus, the report said. However, some concerns sprout from how fraudsters are shifting their point of attack, especially because some criminals have potentially found an EMV workaround, and card issuers are scrambling to remediate that issue now.

Where do retailers stand?
With this in mind, it's fair to say that the overall security of the payment processing industry won't be sufficiently boosted until the vast majority of businesses large and small are using EMV for the majority of their transactions, according to Payments Source. One recent poll found that nearly half of all businesses, regardless of size, had completed their transition to EMV, and a little fewer than 1 in 4 had also started the process. In all, less than 10 percent of respondents said they were either undecided on getting EMV or simply wouldn't do so. Issues related to the so-called certification bottleneck are certainly holding up the process in some ways, but the good news is that a large and growing number of retailers see taking that step as a bright idea.

That's all a net positive, but certainly more can be done to ensure that businesses are caught up with the certification process. The sooner companies can get into the pool of merchants that adopted but haven't been approved, the sooner they're going to come out the other side and make the payment process more secure for themselves, their customers, and card networks.