Some are still lagging on EMV adoption

Category: Payment Processing Technologies

Whether it's smaller merchants or reticent consumers, there is still a fairly large group of holdouts when it comes to EMV adoption. Although their numbers are dwindling, their continual resistance to adopt the payment platform a full year after the liability shift does create some problems for the payments ecosystem on the whole.

Today, about 2 million merchants large and small across the country accept EMV and the vast majority of credit and debit cards in circulation nationwide now carry the familiar microchip, according to a report from Digital Transactions. But at the same time, EMV transactions make up only about 30 percent of purchases for Visa, the world's largest payment processor. In addition, the roughly 2 million businesses that now accept those cards represent fewer than 1 in 3 of merchants in its payment network, and handle fewer than 2 in 5 transactions.

More consumers and merchants are coming around on EMV, albeit slowly.More consumers and merchants are coming around on EMV, albeit slowly.

What's the benefit?
But even with this relatively small number of transactions, MasterCard says it saw counterfeit credit card fraud fall 54 percent between April 2015 and the same month this year, the report said. Visa, at 47 percent, reported similar declines on an annual basis in May.

"Demonstrating the power of EMV and the risk of not adopting, counterfeit card costs rose by 77 percent at non-chip active merchants in the same timeframe," Chiro Aikat, MasterCard senior vice president of product delivery for EMV, told the site via email.

While the liability shift was first announced in 2011, it only went into effect a year ago, giving merchants plenty of time to get ready for the change, the report said. However, experts say adoption has been a slow but steady process over the past year, in part due to the fact that the certification process took many businesses longer than expected to get through.

Getting consumers onboard
The good news is that it's not as though the payment processing giants don't recognize the issues EMV has presented to users and merchants alike, according to Payments Source. To that end, Visa recently partnered with a well-known millennial consumer advocate to help explain to young adults why they should make the switch to EMV whenever they're presented with the option.

Many consumers - regardless of age - have expressed frustration with the EMV process because these transactions can take several seconds longer than credit card swiping the traditional way. However, Visa and MasterCard, among other payment processors, have recognized this issue and moved to speed up that process so merchants can handle a larger number of transactions more quickly.

For all these reasons, any merchants that have yet to purchase an EMV-capable point-of-sale device may want to do so in the near future. Because certification can sometimes take months, even after the payment giants revamped their processes, the sooner retailers can incorporate the new POS machines, the more quickly they will be able to use them and reduce the amount of fraud they see on an annual basis.