Experts recommend merchants stick out EMV transition

Category: Payment Processing Technologies

While few in the payments industry would say that the rollout of chip-and-PIN transactions has gone as planned, the fact is that a lot of the negative attention paid to the process has been overblown. In fact, more financial institutions and other entities with skin in the game are now encouraging merchants large and small to get involved despite whatever lingering misgivings they may still have, because the fact is that the transition is getting easier, and the payoff for growing through it is likely to be significant.

While some merchants may still be on the fence about the move, especially due to concerns about customer frustrations with the checkout process, their reasons for feeling that way are dwindling, according to a report from the Credit Union Executives Society. The fact is that these transactions are far more secure than traditional credit card purchases and therefore significantly reduce the risk of a person's account information being stolen in a data breach.

EMV is becoming more common, so consumers will be ready in the near future.EMV is becoming more common, so consumers will be ready in the near future.

Other steps being taken
Beyond that, companies like Visa, MasterCard, and American Express - the three largest payment processors in the world, respectively - have also heard complaints from consumers and merchants alike in the wake of the initial EMV liability shift. Consequently, all have worked to develop significantly faster EMV processes over the past few months, and some are now in the real-world testing stage. If successful, the faster payment technology could be in stores within months thanks to a simple software patch, and could therefore dramatically improve consumers' feelings about EMV.

Moreover, part of the frustration with the EMV rollout has been the fact that consumers can't use it everywhere, the CUES report said. As a consequence, some consumers may be additionally frustrated when using these cards at some merchants but not others, and uniformity in this regard may still be some ways away. Fortunately, data from the payment processing giants indicates that the speed in which retailers are adopting EMV is picking up steam, especially as more are pushed through a streamlined certification process.

How else are companies involved?
Recent data suggests that by the end of this year alone, nearly 3 in every 5 debit cards in the U.S. will be EMV-capable, while the number of credit cards that can say the same is pushing close to 90 percent for some payment processors, according to the Memphis Daily News. Consequently, the ubiquity of these types of payments is going to simply make more people accustomed to it, meaning there should be less grumbling in the future.

The fact is that if consumers understand the financial benefit of not having tens of millions of credit and debit card numbers exposed in data breaches every year, they may come to think of the technology not only as part of everyday life, but extremely beneficial to them personally, the report said. The speed with which new chip-enabled cards are now being distributed should go a long way toward helping get everyone on board with the process.