More gains being made in EMV adoption

Category: Payment Processing Technologies

When the EMV liability shift first took place almost nine months ago, the response among retailers was tepid to say the least. While many moved to adopt, the fact is that a lot of merchants were wary about what the switch would mean for them. Now, after all this time has passed, it seems those concerns are no longer a serious part of the issue holding back more widespread adoption.

Indeed, even the infamous "certification bottleneck" that has cropped up in recent months as more businesses try to get themselves set up to handle EMV transactions isn't holding back the floodgates when it comes to adoption, according to the latest research from the Mercator Advisory Group. The total value of all EMV transactions in the U.S. through the end of this year is expected to reach about $890 billion, and at that time nearly half of all purchase volume will be for such transactions.

"Consumers have grown much more comfortable with chip cards over the last 12 months," said Alex Johnson, director of Mercator Advisory Group's Credit Advisory Service, and author of the report. "This has thrown the ongoing challenges in activating merchant POS terminals into sharper relief. How merchants, acquirers, and the card networks resolve these challenges will shape the next 12 months of the U.S. EMV migration."

More merchants are now set up to handle EMV transactions.More merchants are now set up to handle EMV transactions.

Forward-looking data
Then, over the course of 2017, it's expected that these transactions will take up an even larger portion of the total transaction marketplace - rising to 73 percent - with a total value of a little less than $1.47 trillion, the report said. However, it's not until 2021 that the projections show these transactions will make up the entirety of the payments ecosystem (though it will likely be at 95 percent the year before). Through the end of 2021, the total value of EMV transactions nationwide could be as great as more than $2.62 trillion.

Payment processors doing more to smooth adoption
And in recent months, the global payment giants Visa, MasterCard, and American Express have come to recognize their role in boosting adoption as well, according to a report from Retail Dive. They've started to do more to alter their policies for EMV liability to meet merchants in the middle on a number of topics, with a recent decision from AmEx to alter the way liability bounces back on instances of small-time fraud.

This comes in addition to those companies' efforts to reduce the wait time in the certification process, and to cut into the time it takes to complete transactions themselves, that the payment processing giants have undertaken in recent months. They recognize the rollout of EMV on this new, grand scale has not been entirely smooth, and are now doing more to assuage retailers' concerns that this process will be onerous for them. The more retailers that adopt EMV in the next several months, the better off the entire payment ecosystem will become, because these transactions are considerably safer than traditional credit and debit card use.