Consumer Payments

3 Reasons EMV Won’t Happen In The U.S.

At this point, it’s safe to say that EMV isn’t exactly a sexy solution. The standard put in place by Europay, MasterCard and Visa in the 2000s as a way to fight fraud at the physical point of sale has lost much of its luster in the U.S. as shopping moves toward mobile and online.

While wildly successful abroad, experts like Gloria Colgan, managing director at Market Platform Dynamics, have long made the case that EMV’s once rising star is waning, and that the U.S. payments system requires new solutions to meet its fraud protection needs.

“[EMV] becomes much more difficult when things move and shift to cloud-based transactions in a digital environment,” Colgan wrote in a September 23 report for PYMNTS. “Yes, there are workarounds… [but] more complications and costs are added to the process, which just make it harder. U.S. consumers don’t like harder. We like safe and convenient.”

With the EMV liability shift set for October 15, 2015, we take a look at the biggest hurdles facing widespread implementation in the U.S. as part of our 12 Days of Christmas Series:

3. Merchants Aren’t Convinced About EMV – Due to the emergence of near-field communication (NFC), Bluetooth low energy (BLE) solutions and other innovations at the point of sale, many merchants have been advised to be cautious of upgrading to EMV too quickly. Complicating matters is an August report from PaymentsSource suggests as many as 33 percent of acquirers do not yet have standardized EMV/NFC equipment into their offerings.

Without the ability to understand how routing will be handled, whether contactless support will be needed and how to maintain necessary terminals, many merchants have been left playing the waiting game.

2. The Durbin Amendment – Yet another challenge to U.S. EMV has been the Durbin Amendment. Some observers have argued that since EMV does not allow merchants to have their choice of networks, EMV is not in compliance with federal law.

Now with Durbin’s fate still hanging in the balance, most experts don’t believe that further clarity on this grey area will come soon.

1. EMV Is Obsolete – Proponents of EMV say that it is compatible with mobile devices, but a growing group of detractors counter that EMV is obsolete, or not enough by itself in the age of mobile and online selling. Further, and perhaps most importantly, they state that these emerging channels mitigate its primary advantages.

For example, a recent white paper from TSYS suggests that 3-D Secure was integral to the overall success of EMV in the U.K., as it was key to protecting buyers online.

For more on why these solutions may be stronger combined, read our full report here. To return to our 12 Days of Christmas Series, click here.



The PYMNTS Cross-Border Merchant Friction Index analyzes the key friction points experienced by consumers browsing, shopping and paying for purchases on international eCommerce sites. PYMNTS examined the checkout processes of 266 B2B and B2C eCommerce sites across 12 industries and operating from locations across Europe and the United States to provide a comprehensive overview of their checkout offerings.

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