Visa recently released data and figures regarding EMV usage in the first full month of purchases following the October 1st EMV liability shift, adding that they are “extremely encouraged” with the 42 percent increase in chip-on-chip transaction volume and the 49 percent increase in merchant locations that can accept EMV in just one month’s time. The real test for EMV, however, will be whether its use continues to increase during the peak times of the holiday season when stores are busy and merchants want to keep lines moving.
In late November Visa announced several promising facts and figures regarding the growth in use and acceptance of EMV cards in the United States. The card association reported that there are now 180.6 million Visa EMV cards in the U.S., 57 percent of which are credit cards. This represents about 25 percent of the 720 million Visa payment cards in circulation in the United States, up from 18 percent in July. According to a survey Visa conducted across all cardholders, 70 percent of U.S. cardholders have at least one EMV card.
Consumers having EMV cards is one side of the equation, but the other considerations are whether merchants are equipped to accept EMV payments and if consumers are choosing to use EMV rather than their magnetic-stripe cards. Visa reported that there are now 529,000 merchant locations enabled to accept EMV, which is an increase of 49 percent from September. While this shows strong growth in EMV acceptance following the October 1st deadline, with about 8 million card-accepting locations in the U.S. in total EMV is supported at less than 7 percent of these locations.
EMV card purchases are increasing, but still represent a small share of the total card payment volume. Although Visa’s EMV charge volume reached $8.9 billion in October, a 49 percent increase from September, this represents only about 4 percent of Visa’s combined credit and debit payment volume. While 25 percent of Visa cards in the U.S. are Chip cards less than 7 percent of total card-accepting locations support EMV currently, and only about 4 percent of Visa card purchases are EMV. October has shown strong growth in use and support for EMV, but many years of continued growth lie ahead.
The next test for EMV will be how much usage and acceptance continues this holiday season. With most merchants now in their busiest time of the year, rolling out changes that affect how customers checkout and adds five-to-ten seconds to their checkout time might be put on hold until after the rush. Keep an eye on future reports from Visa tracking EMV usage in the U.S. to see if this surge continues in November and December.
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