EMV-friendly Retailers Predicted To Increase 650 Percent In 2015

recent survey from technology consultancy Boston Retail Partners shows that businesses that accept EMV payments will increase 650 percent by October 2015 — the date that the shift in liability to merchants who do not enable EMV technology will take place.

EMV is a technology that has been widely adopted outside of the U.S. due to the added level of security that it provides card holders and merchants. The BRP survey shows that among the businesses surveyed, 63 percent list “payment security” as one of the Top 3 reasons why they will adapt their systems to EMV, and clearly key to this is the looming shift in liability that will be borne by merchants once October 2015 has come and gone.

“While only 8 percent of retailers have implemented a single-commerce platform, more than half of the retailers indicated they will have [one] implemented within the next 4 years–that’s a 663 percent increase,” said Ken Morris, principal of Boston Retail Partners.

EMV, of course, made headlines last year as major retailers embraced the technology as a result of the Target breach. Pundits admit that alone, EMV technology is insufficient to prevent fraud at the physical point of sale. When used in combination with a system of encryption and tokenization, fraud at the point of sale will be more difficult, which is said to cost the U.S. economy roughly $190 billion per year.

The change-over though will not be easy, and there are some concerns that major retailers and small businesses won’t have the systems ready for operation by the October target date. Many players are lining up to help retailers expedite the process. For example, earlier in the week, First Data announced a partnership with UL to sell customized versions of UL technologies to medium and large sized clients to integrate POS systems with the new EMV technology. The new technology is expected to create one-stop EMV migration and certification aimed at reducing the threat of fraudulent payments. Creditcall, a technology platform that enables expedited certified EMV solutions to merchants is bringing its platform to the U.S., as well.

A key question is how many small merchants will continue to pursue the EMV path if they find the date unreachable. Some merchants, in categories like restaurants where EMV technologies create a change to the business process, are said to be evaluating other options that leapfrog EMV terminal requirements.