In 2019, Visa reported an 87% decrease in counterfeit card fraud resulting from EMV adoption in the US. It seems fairly cut and dry that EMV is the better security technology to protect cardholders, so why had it taken so long for the U.S. to accept this as a standard?
Five years ago, the largest card issuers (Mastercard, Visa, American Express and Discover) announced that merchants and issuers who didn’t support chip technology by Oct. 2015 would be liable for any counterfeit fraud. This doesn’t mean that these merchants and issuers would necessarily have to invest in chip technology. Simply put, if a customer has a chip card but the merchant does not have a terminal certified for chip card acceptance, then the cost of any fraudulent transaction would be the merchant’s responsibility.
This may not seem like a huge deal, but into the past the card issuer would just absorb the loss, and merchants didn’t see any impact.
Lacking the big picture impact, combined with the cost and time it takes for a business to become EMV compliant, has led to merchants dragging their feet in the adoption process. One of the biggest areas of delay are convenience and fuel stores. Nearly one-third of all operators have no EMV-ready pumps available, all citing the same three issues: software, certification and cost.
Recently, COVID-19 has created a new obstacle in EMV adoption by affecting their cash flow. Ironically, EMV-compliant terminals would allow customers to make touch-free purchases using near-field communication payment options.