By Matt Pillar, chief editor
October first is this Thursday. It’s D-day for the EMV liability shift, the big deadline that’s been all the hullabaloo in retail payment circles for the last, I don’t know, five or ten years. And despite estimates that some 8 in 10 small to midsized retailers hadn’t adopted EMV-ready systems as of mid-September (according to a Software Advice study), the sky has not begun to fall. Further, regardless of the more than half of U.S. adults who admit they don’t know anything about EMV or the move to chip-enabled credit cards (according to recent research conducted by HarborTouch), they’re still swiping plastic. That’s the good news.
Of course, much of that plastic is of the traditional (non-chip) variety. According to the aforementioned HarborTouch study, which was written from a survey of 18,000 U.S. shoppers, the majority (53.6 percent) of consumers said they had not yet received replacement EMV or chip cards from all of their credit-card providers.
That leads to the bad news for EMV proponents. The payment card industry that’s hell-bent on catching up with the rest of the world isn’t exactly doing a bang-up job spoon-feeding this one to its constituents. As if the collective balk from the small-to-midsized retailers who do understand EMV isn’t challenging enough to deal with, not nearly enough has been done to educate those retailers who don’t understand it. There may be value—less fraud, chargeback protection, a roadmap to mobile consumer touchpoints—but not many see the payback. What’s more, new chip cards are just now trickling out to consumers, most of whom don’t know how they’re any different from their old cards. Not the best scenario for a smooth rollout.
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