Chip Cards are Gaining Popularity, but the United States Market is Still Slow in Adopting EMVrms retail merchant services

Chip Cards are Gaining Popularity, but the United States Market is Still Slow in Adopting EMVrms retail merchant services


The U.S. market is known for the quick and ready acceptance of any technology that proves safe and secure, more so when it comes to payments. Regrettably, that has not been the case for EMV chip card payments.

But that is not to say Americans are not using these services at all. Research by a payment card watchdog EMVCo shows that last year chip card payments recorded remarkable performance in the U.S. market, but the country is still slower than other regions using EMV.

EMV-Readiness by Zone

Here’s how fast EMV is penetrating into the various zones as classified by the researcher.

  • More than half (53 percent) of U.S. card-present payments last year were chip-on-chip, which means the POS (point of sale) terminal involved and the cards used were EMV-ready. This figure marks a rise from 41 percent in 2017 per EMVCo statistics.
  • Europe Zone 1 (made up of Northern & Western Regions) is the most EMV-ready area. The zone recorded an outstanding 97 percent of all EMV-enabled POS transactions in 2018— a slight drop from down 2017’s 98 percent.
  • Other zones increasingly adopting EMV per the 2018 figures were the Caribbean, Canada, and Latin America zones at 94 percent, followed by the Middle East and Africa both with made up 93 percent of all EMV-enabled payments.
  • Europe Zone 2 (mostly Russia, and the former Soviet Republics) also adopted EMV more accounting for 92% percent of all last year’s EMV-enabled. Asia accounted for 68 percent.

The industry watchdog draws these figures from payment-network operators including Visa, American Express, MasterCard, JCB (Japan), Discover and UnionPay (China).

The change to chip card payments in the United States— in a move to ditch the crime-prone magnetic-stripe cards—kicked off officially in October 2015 during the shift of liability by the card networks.

EMVCo’s figures also indicated that the United State’s chip card user base grew to 842 million last year; an uptick of 7.3 % from 2017’s 785 million.

But this increase in adoption in the U.S. trailed all other zones expect Asia where despite registering 5 billion chip cards only made up for 51 percent of EMV card payments.

Final Words

Hopefully, the penetration of EMV into the American market will get better this year as customers become more concerned about the safety of their payments.

Author Bio: Payment industry expert Taylor Cole is a passionate merchant account expert who understands the complicated world of accepting credit and debit cards at your business. His understanding of retail merchant services (RMS) has helped thousands of business owners save money and time.


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