Retailers scramble to get going with chip cards

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Retailer adoption of EMV chip card technology continues to lag since an Oct. 1 deadline shifting liability for some fraudulent transactions to merchants, according to a report by Bloomberg on Wednesday.

MasterCard EMV chip card

Citing data from research firm Mercator Advisory Group, Bloomberg reported that even though nearly 60% of bank-issued credit cards have an embedded chip for added security, just 20% of retailer terminals were equipped to process them as of the end of 2015.

The problem: Retailers that procrastinated in deploying the EMV hardware and software are now lining up to get it (as some have gotten a taste of the cost of fraudulent transactions), and demand is ahead of supply, Bloomberg’s report said.

And it’s not just the cost that has led many retailers to hesitate in implementing EMV technology, according to Bloomberg. The testing and certification process can be tedious, and purchases with chip cards take a bit longer — meaning that impatient consumers may opt to go elsewhere, the report said.

What’s more, Bloomberg added, mobile payment solutions may even become the secure payment method of choice for shoppers before chip cards take hold.

At the end of March, MasterCard reported that 1.2 million U.S. merchant locations (including about a million local and regional merchants) accepted chip card payments, up 121% six months after the Oct. 1 liability deadline. MasterCard said 67% of its U.S.-issued consumer credit cards now have chips.

Last year, the Payments Security Task Force projected that 98% of cards issued in the U.S. would have chip technology by the end of 2017.

“Chip technology is an essential upgrade to better protect consumers and businesses,” stated Catherine Murchie, senior vice president of North American enterprise security solutions for MasterCard. “Other countries that have already adopted chips have seen significant reductions in counterfeit card fraud over time — as much as 60%, 70% or even 80%. The U.S. industry continues to work together on EMV to generate similar results.”



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