- About 78% of cards now contain EMV chips, up from 46% at the time of the Oct. 1, 2015 fraud liability shift, according to a report marking the one-year anniversary of the switch from CardFlight, a mobile point-of-sale technology provider.
- CardFlight reports that 96% of American Express cards are now EMV-enabled, the highest percentage of any payment card issuer.
- CardFlight also touted its own EMV prowess, stating that 56% of CardFlight transactions last month were EMV "chip on chip." In addition, 73% of its merchants are EMV-enabled, a figure more than 2.5 times the national average, the company said.
One year on from the liability shift, and so much has shifted. What had been a sluggish pace for EMV adoption and enablement now feels like a technology transition with some real momentum. The industry can take a moment this week to pat itself on the back... but just a moment.
The EMV transition is not entirely a feel-good story, and retail merchant adoption remains the real downer. Consulting agency The Strawhecker Group (TSG) last month estimated that only about 44% of U.S. card-accepting merchants have EMV terminals. Furthermore, at that time, TSG said only 29% of U.S. merchants were actually able to accept chip-based transactions.
Though some retailers were perhaps not terribly aggressive about strategizing to adopt and activate EMV terminals, the problems have as much to do with lengthy delays in the card companies' certification of terminals. In fact, the delays almost made the shift in fraud liability to retailers seem like a cruel joke: Not only did merchants accept more responsibility for fraud if they didn't have the EMV terminals activated, but they also may have had little control over how quickly they could get terminals activated.
Fortunately, the card companies have made new efforts in recent months to improve those certification processes, and in some cases further ease the fraud liability for merchants. The good news is that there are a lot of chip cards out there. American Express certainly is doing its part, and others aren't far behind. The less happy reality is that there is a long way to go on the merchant adoption and activation front.