- Visa announced there are 326.8 million EMV chip cards in the U.S., and 1.3 million merchant locations able to process EMV transactions, according to data the credit card giant collected at the end of June.
- The merchant number means that almost 28% of all merchants in the U.S. can accept the chip cards. Also, more than 75% of those EMV-ready merchants small and medium-sized businesses, Visa said.
- The number of payments using chip-based Visa cards reached 483 million at the end of last month, and chip-based payments accounted for about a quarter of the total dollars spent using Visa cards.
One of the major card networks is back to reassure that the transition to EMV chip-based card payments is moving along at a nice clip, and all is well. Anyone who has been following this transition, however, knows that it hasn't been all puppies and rainbows. A National Retail Foundation survey recently reminded us that many merchants were still waiting earlier this year for the card companies to certify their EMV equipment.
Still, any reports of progress are good news, especially considering how slowly this transition began. One interesting stat we didn't mention above is that EMV-based merchants have reported a 35% decline in counterfeit fraud, according to the Visa data. If the main aim of adopting EMV was to vastly improve security, we are already seeing that happen.
Will Visa's statistics regarding counterfeit fraud quiet some of the critics that have said the card companies are sacrificing security by requiring signature authentication of purchases rather than PINs? Probably not. The retail industry is creeping closer to a 100% conversion to EMV, but there is still a long way to go, and likely much more drama to be played out.
Visa last month announced steps to ease U.S. merchant migration to EMV payment processing, including a more streamlined terminal testing and certification process, increased funding support for merchant transitions and changes to its counterfeit fraud chargeback policies for merchants that don't yet have EMV chip terminals. While testing, certification and commercial rollouts of chip terminals at merchant locations can take several months, Visa said it's aiming for a 50% reduction in the amount of the time it takes to complete this process.