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Why Doesn't Your Store Accept EMV Yet?

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It’s over four months since retailers around the US were supposed to start using EMV technology to accept your card payments. So why is it that so many stores seem to be ignoring the chip?

That’s exactly what payments expert Allen Weinberg has been wondering too. In a nice article on his blog, he runs through some of the many reasons why the technology has been slow to take off.


First, it’s worth noting that the October 1st 2015 deadline for switching to EMV was perhaps a little more subtle than it may have been reported at the time. On that day, MasterCard and Visa simply changed their rules so that vendors had to absorb 100 percent of the costs associated with fraud if a card was swiped when it could have had its chip, err, dipped. It’s known as a liability shift.

So! There was some room for maneuver—and many retailers are taking it. But why take the risk of having to absorb fraud charges over just embracing EMV? Weinberg explains:

Some merchants, particularly the large ones, don’t want to “educate America” on how to perform an EMV transaction. This was especially acute during the holiday season. They see EMV as just slowing down lines and chose to wait until consumers learned what to do—and do it quickly—at someone else’s store...

EMV deployment is a big project for large merchants. POS systems need to be modified and often upgraded and always certified (no small nor quick task). Clerks have to be trained. These POS change projects usually span years, not months. Many pieces to the EMV puzzle, particularly regarding debit, were not in place in time for the liability shift deadline...

Many, many, many integrated POS systems (IPOS), especially the electronic cash register software for these systems, were just not ready in time. Even if the software was ahead of the game, they faced long certification queues at many acquirers.


For what it’s worth, the US isn’t alone. Brian Krebs notes that in countries that have firmly adopted EMV payments—mainly in Europe—it took an average of around three years before 90 percent of card transactions were performed using chip and PIN.

So your store may continue to reject the technology—at least for a while yet.

[Payments Views via Krebs on Security]

Top image by iamporpla/Shutterstock.