EMV transactions on the rise as adoption becomes more widespread

Category: Payment Processing Technologies

The adoption of EMV capabilities among both consumers and merchants in the past few months has been encouraging for those in the payment processing industry. This is particularly true in the wake of the slow start late last year that saw plenty of pushback and concern over how the liability shift would affect all involved. Fortunately, while things still aren't perfect, they're a lot better than they used to be, and improving all the time.

Today, about 70 percent of all cards in circulation at the end of June came with EMV capability, and that number is only likely to keep growing as major payment processors continue to push out chip-enabled plastic at a stunning rate, according to a report from CardFlight. Meanwhile, nearly 2 in every 3 merchants that used CardFlight were capable of processing these transactions, while the national average was only a little more than 1 in 5.

Chip cards become more common all the time, but are merchants ready?Chip cards become more common all the time, but are merchants ready?

Data shows which companies are getting ahead
Indeed, that push among merchants to get more EMV-capable cards into the payments ecosystem overall seems to be paying off for American Express in particular, the report said. About 19 in every 20 AmEx cards used during this period came with a chip, putting it ahead of previously self-reported percentages for larger processors like Visa and MasterCard.

Interestingly, merchants that tended to handle higher dollar-value transactions also appeared more capable of accepting an EMV purchase, the report said. In all, nearly 4 in 5 "big ticket" merchants (with dollar values of at least $200 per transactions were EMV-enabled. That compared quite favorably with the fewer than half of CardFlight merchants with average transaction values of less than $10.

Visa reports bigger transaction numbers too
Meanwhile, Visa, the world's largest payment processor, recently saw a 26 percent growth rate in chip-on-chip transactions between May and the end of July, according to Digital Transactions Payment News. But in terms of total transaction volume, the growth is even more impressive, with the payment processor adding more than 114 million additional transactions of this type in just two months. Moreover, its volume has more than tripled since soon after the liability shift went into effect.

It is estimated that about 1 in every 9 Visa transactions are now chip-on-chip, the report said. This kind of payment is considered a strong indicator of how well adoption is moving along, because it shows consumers with chip cards are actually using them to make purchases at EMV-capable merchants on a regular basis. In all, nearly 1.4 million merchants were capable of accepting these transactions, up from fewer than 700,000 last November.

With all this in mind, merchants that still haven't moved to start the adoption process - which includes a certification requirement for major payment processors that has been greatly sped up - may want to get involved as soon as possible. Doing so will not only help meet changing consumer expectations about how their payments go these days, but also help to reduce instances of fraud in the entire payments ecosystem.