News & Views - Savantor

EMV Chip in the US – an Informal Survey

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

It’s been a long time coming, but there are indications that the US is finally going to adopt EMV chip.  This technology has already been embraced by the rest of the world as a way to make card payments more secure.  Recently, Visa, MasterCard, and Discover have announced measures to encourage EMV migration in the States, several banks have started issuing chip cards (albeit only to frequent travelers) and some merchants are upgrading to EMV-compliant POS terminals.  But many questions still remain. 

Over the past few months, Auriemma Consulting Group and Savantor undertook a “listening tour” to answer some of those questions.  The firms interviewed senior officers at a handful of banks, retailers and other payments organizations to get a feel for what they are thinking and how they see the EMV chip story panning out in the US.  Some interesting and important themes emerged, including: 

• Everyone believes migration to EMV chip in the US is now inevitable, but few expect it to happen before the newly mandated headlines.

• Many do not regard EMV chip as a high-priority, long-term strategic issue.

• Chip with signature verification is expected to be deployed, rather than Chip + PIN.

• Mobile NFC and other emerging payments models increase uncertainty.

• Large retailers are the main drivers of EMV migration, with many other stakeholders adopting a “wait and see” attitude.

• There is a lack of central coordination and leadership.

Jointly, Savantor and ACG have released a white paper detailing the findings of their research.  For a free copy, please contact either firm at the phone number or email addresses below.

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