Older consumers more eager to adopt EMV?

Category: Payment Processing Technologies

In the past several months, the broader EMV rollout has been a hot-button issue for consumers and merchants alike. While some data shows that these efforts have already reduced instances of fraud for a number of the nation's largest retail chains, there's also anecdotal evidence that suggests consumers aren't exactly happy with the transition because they view it as slightly more inconvenient than swiping their cards in the traditional manner.

Interestingly though, there seems to be something of a generational divide when it comes to who is most receptive to the EMV switch, according to new data from the market research firm Morpace. The survey found that nearly half of shoppers over the age of 55 prefer using a chip-and-PIN transaction to swiping their debit or credit card, while fewer than 1 in 3 felt the opposite. However, younger adults age 18-34 preferred traditional swiping transactions by a ratio of more than 2 to 1 (43 percent versus just 21 percent who prefer EMV).

Young people still don't prefer EMV the way older shoppers do.Young people still don't prefer EMV the way older shoppers do.

Why is that?
This likely won't come as a surprise to those in the industry, but the reason most often cited by younger consumers as to why they prefer the less secure payment option is that it's much faster to complete than EMV transactions, the report said. Meanwhile, the older people polled generally said they preferred EMV because of the added security it brings to each transaction.

But that difference in feeling actually highlights two of the bigger issues in the EMV rollout as a whole, the report said. The poll found that 1 in 3 people, regardless of age, had no idea why the liability shift was happening in the first place. Meanwhile, the fact that EMV transactions do take longer than traditional debit and credit card swiping is an issue with which retailers and payment processors have both had to contend even as consumer frustrations temper over time.

Bridging the gap
Fortunately, more initiatives are currently getting underway to make sure those potential issues are dealt with. The biggest of these is the moves from both Visa and MasterCard - the world's two largest payment processors by far - to speed up the EMV transaction process so that the time they take to complete are more in line with what traditional card swiping feels like for consumers. Having the ability to combine that with education efforts to highlight that these purchases are far more secure could go a long way toward improving consumer satisfaction with the switch.

However, so too could more widespread use of these payment platforms in general. The more people have the opportunity to use EMV, the more likely they will be to become accustomed to how these transactions work. However, that will likely mean that many companies, and smaller merchants in particular, will have to adopt EMV in much the same way some of the nation's largest companies have, so that it's just something they use even more often than they already are.