- A National Retail Foundation survey found that among retailers that have yet to support EMV chip-enabled credit and debit card payments, 57% said they already installed the necessary equipment, but were still waiting for certification by the card networks. About 60% of that same group said they had been waiting for six months or longer.
- The NRF survey also found that 48% of retailers had adopted EMV payment terminals by the end of June, and 86% expected to have them by the end of the year.
- About 58% of retailers surveyed described the EMV transition their top payments-related challenge for 2016, with 72% saying it's their top payments initiative for the year.
For the most part, this survey is not telling us anything that we didn't already know, at least generally. It seems more like the retail industry bolstering its case against the card companies, which retailers have long complained have been dragging their feet during the move to EMV chip-based payments.
What we also know is that the card companies have started to respond to these complaints with announcements in recent weeks about how they are streamlining their EMV gear certification programs and generally trying to speed up activation. The survey was conducted in May and June, and any effects from the renewed efforts announced last month likely would not have been reflected in the survey, so it might be worth checking back with these same retailers in a few months.
Any progress on the part of the card companies also would mess with the retail industry's narrative, though, in which the card companies are most definitely the antagonists for a variety of reasons, including the perception that they are putting their own fee revenue ahead of fraud concerns. We're not saying the card companies are being unfairly attacked, but we're unlikely to see any surveys from retail groups that show what a good job the card companies are doing.
What's most significant for retailers in all this is that they are doing what they need to do in order to move to a new payments era. The rest is in someone else's hands.