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  • Thierry Spanjaard

EMV adoption grows on the combination of cards and POS terminals

"There is no success without hardship." - Sophocles

EMVCo, the body that represents the payment schemes, just announced that 54.6% of all cards issued globally by the end of 2017 were EMV-enabled. In addition, the number of EMV payment cards in circulation around the world increased by 1 billion over the previous 12 months, to a total of 7.1 billion. EMVCo obtained its data from its members Visa, Mastercard, American Express, JCB and China UnionPay.

EMVCo also reports that 63.7% of all card-present transactions made around the world between January and December 2017 used EMV chip technology, increasing from 52.4% in 2016.

However, these global figures need to be complemented by a more regional approach:

Regional EMV chip card adoption rate:

  • Africa and the Middle East: 74.8%

  • Asia Pacific: 45.7%

  • Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean: 85.7%

  • Europe Zone 1: 84.4%

  • Europe Zone 2: 71.4%

  • United States: 58.5%

Percentage of card-present transactions that are EMV:

  • Africa and the Middle East: 90.9%

  • Asia Pacific: 54.4%

  • Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean: 88.5%

  • Europe Zone 1: 98.6%

  • Europe Zone 2: 90.4%

  • United States: 41.2%

Digital Transactions also publishes data about EMV cards in issuance:

  • Asia Pacific: 4.15 billion (+24.5% vs. 2016)

  • United States: 785 million (+16.3% vs. 2016)

The whole secure transactions industry has been supporting EMV deployment for years and has been demonstrating the benefits of smart cards over legacy technologies such as magstripe for decades. Resistance has been met in different geographies as shown by the lower adoption figure for the United States.

In addition, an essential trigger supporting EMV migration is a significant reduction of fraud-related incidents: according to Visa, merchants accepting chip cards reported a drop in counterfeit fraud losses by 58% in December 2016 when compared to December 2015. Similarly, Mastercard fraud data also saw a 54% decline in counterfeit fraud from April 2015 to April 2016. As of now, Visa revealed that 96% of the company’s payment volume at point-of-sale (POS) use EMV cards.

Along with the higher number of cards, more POS terminals can read the chips, resulting in a growing number of secure transactions. Globally, 63.7% of all card-present transactions last year used EMV technology, up from 52.4% in 2016, according to EMVCo.

The growth in EMV-enabled POS terminals is especially significant in the US: Visa Inc. says 2.7 million US merchant locations representing 59% of card-accepting storefronts accepted chip cards in December 2017, up nearly 600% from 392,000 locations in September 2015.

Next step, is to prepare for technology evolutions and for expanding the acceptance base for EMV Cards. Dual interface cards are already widely deployed in the UK, Poland, and more generally in Europe, while the Americas are preparing their switch. Dual interface terminals are already widely implemented across most geographies.

Also, EMVCo recently published a specification for “Secure Remote Commerce” that provides a technical framework for enabling consumers to use their payment cards across channels, especially combining physical and online commerce.

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