EMV transition well-received by merchants, consumers

Category: Payment Processing Technologies

1 in 3 U.S.merchants are now able to accept EMV payments

While there was a bit of consternation in the early days of the EMV liability shift, the dissenting voices have grown much quieter as time has gone on. At this point, more than a year after the change first went into effect, things seem to have considerably settled down and are going pretty smoothly. However, industry experts say that while the progress made over this time is encouraging, more may need to be done to get everyone on the same page.

Recent data suggests that about 1 in 3 merchants in the U.S. are now set up to accept EMV payments, and the vast majority of consumers now have at least one card capable of making such a purchase, according to the U.S. Payments Forum, which oversees the EMV migration. And while that shift has generally led to less credit card fraud for in-person purchases, the industry will generally need to see a lot less fraud before the payments sphere is happy with its standing.

More shoppers are getting used to EMV for in-store purchases.More shoppers are getting used to EMV for in-store purchases.

Getting more merchants involved
One issue that needs to be overcome as it relates to reducing fraud is getting more merchants capable of accepting EMV in the first place, the report said. With roughly two-thirds of all businesses still processing transactions the old-fashioned way, the heightened possibility for card-present fraud remains at the vast majority of retail locations. To that end, the U.S. Payments Forum is working to not only boost adoption among holdouts, but also to improve the certification process for those who are still spending months going through it.

"The U.S. will need to reach critical mass of chip-on-chip transactions before we will start to see big drops in counterfeit card fraud," said Randy Vanderhoof, director of the U.S. Payments Forum. "From what our chip-enabled merchants are telling us, chip-on-chip transactions are increasing at a very solid rate and our larger enabled merchants are seeing most of their transactions come in as chip transactions."

Banks more satisfied
Meanwhile, when it comes to the businesses actually issuing the credit and debit cards being used to make purchases, they too are mostly satisfied with the progress the EMV shift has made in the past year-plus, according to Jess Sharp, senior vice president and executive director of the American Bankers Association's Card Policy Council. Counterfeit purchases are declining because some 700 million EMV-enabled cards are in circulation, and that number is growing all the time.

Financial institutions generally remain concerned about online fraud, too, which has increased some 12 percent in the wake of the liability shift, the report said. As such, they're also encouraging payment processors and platform developers to do more to boost online security in much the same way they already have for in-store purchases.

For all these reasons, the more merchants that haven't yet adopted EMV can do to get that process started, the better off all involved will be. At this point, using a chip-and-PIN card to make a purchase is second nature to many consumers, so any concerns about shopper consternation should be assuaged.