Industry insights Read time : 3 minutes

CEO Insights: EMV in US still has a long way to go

The latest EMVCo numbers were published just before the New Year. While the latest numbers only reflect transactions up to June 2016, they tell a compelling story about how far the United States still needs to go before EMV becomes mainstream. The report shows that, despite being 8 months past the EMV liability shift of Oct. 2015, only 7.2% of card-present transactions used EMV in June 2016.

57 percent of merchants reported that while they have installed EMV equipment, they cannot enable it because they still are awaiting system certification. Of those, 60 percent have been waiting six months or longer.

In recent blogs, we’ve discussed why adoption numbers aren’t higher. Millions of terminals still need upgrading. A slow certification process means than many terminals that are deployed aren’t even activated for EMV. In the "State of Retail Payments 2016 Study" by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Forrester Research, 86 percent of retailers expected to have EMV payment terminals in place by the end of 2016. However, 57 percent of merchants reported that while they have installed EMV equipment, they cannot enable it because they still are awaiting system certification. Of those, 60 percent have been waiting six months or longer. There was — and still is — a lot of confusion and misinformation among software developers and payment companies about certifications.

Additionally, slower transaction times concern retailers who are still on the fence about EMV. Add in confusion among retailers about the various and ever-growing list of next-generation payment methods such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, etc. and you have a recipe for a disaster. It’s no wonder adoption has been so slow.

It would be easy to point to other countries where the EMV transition has already taken place for justification of how long our EMV migration is taking.

It would be easy to point to other countries where the EMV transition has already taken place for justification of how long our EMV migration is taking. For instance, the transition took the UK about 5 years to complete. Unfortunately, the US really shouldn’t compare itself with the rest of the world. The UK didn’t have other countries to emulate. The technologies were new and there was no roadmap for adoption. In the US, there lies the ability to leverage the technologies and learnings of those who have already made the shift to EMV.

It’s odd then, that so many US-based payment companies turned internally to develop their EMV strategies and technologies rather than partner with companies abroad that had the answers they sought. Retailers who put their faith in these payment partners are the ones who have paid the price by getting stuck in this slow adoption nightmare.

However, some retailers and software developers knew better. UK-based Creditcall has been able to bring its EMV expertise, certification knowledge, and SDKs to the US market. Those who partner with Creditcall should expect a fast and easy integration, high touch experience, and — most importantly — a 100% first-time certification approval rate. Indeed, the retailers and developers who work with Creditcall on EMV are in that 7.2%. As we enter 2017, Creditcall’s partners are now focusing on things outside of EMV such as improving their products, engaging with customers, and increasing sales. The rest of the market is still struggling to figure things out.

Insights from Lars Pedersen, Creditcall CEO

NMI Team