In Depth

Visa’s EMV Chip Card Milestone

Just weeks away from the Oct. 1 deadline for the EMV liability shift, new data showing progress in the marketplace may actually mark the beginning of significant growth in chip card adoption in the U.S.

According to the latest data from Visa, growth in the chip card market has propelled Visa chip-enabled cards to reach a circulation of more than 141 million in the U.S., greatly outnumbering the nearly 129 million Visa chip cards in Brazil and 124 million cards in the U.K.

[bctt tweet=”@Visa reports 141 million of its chip-enabled cards are now in circulation throughout the U.S. “]

Not only is the number of distributed chip-cards up, but the number of merchants ready to accept those cards has increased as well.

The data shows chip-enabled devices are in use at roughly 301,000 merchants across the country, showing a 547 percent jump in year-over-year usage.

“We are strongly encouraged by the number of small businesses that are using the new chip readers – in fact, small businesses accounted for about 50 percent of chip payment volume last month,” the company confirmed.

While the move toward EMV has proved challenging due to the size and complexity of the U.S. market, the data from Visa provides a glimmer of hope that the progress made will continue going forward.

Banks are issuing more chip-enabled cards, businesses are activating more chip ready terminals and consumers are responding by increasing their secure chip transactions.

During the month of August, Visa found that almost 60 million chip payment transactions, totaling more than $3.6 billion in payment volume, took place in the U.S. with their cards, with half of that volume taking place at the point-of-sale in small businesses.

“These signs point to the progress that the industry has made ahead of Oct. 1, when the new liability system takes effect. They also affirm the commitment that the industry has made to security,” Visa said.

“We expect to see many more merchants and card issuers migrate to chip technology in the months ahead, but we don’t expect everyone to make the change right away. In fact, the roadmap was designed with flexibility in mind, allowing everyone to make the transition on a timetable that meets their needs.”

But a new push in the adoption of EMV may come from an unlikely partnership, by bridging the gap between EMV and biometrics.

Visa recently announced the launch of a “first-of-its kind technology framework” of chip-based biometrics, enabling biometrics to be used with chip card transactions.

The architecture of this new specification allows fingerprints to be securely accepted by a biometric reader, encrypted, and then validated, supporting what is known as “match-on-card” authentication. This allows a biometric to be validated by the EMV card, making it so its data is never exposed or stored on a central database.

[bctt tweet=”Chip-based biometrics innovation is top of mind for @Visa as the EMV migration continues “]

The specification allows for issuers to validate the biometric data within their own transaction systems, such as ATMs.

“There is increasing demand for biometrics as a more convenient and secure alternative to signatures or PINs, especially as biometrics technologies have become more reliable and available,” Mark Nelsen, senior vice president of Risk Products and Business Intelligence at Visa, said earlier this week.

“However, to support wide adoption, it is equally important that solutions are scalable and based on open standards. Building on the EMV chip standard provides a common, interoperable foundation, as well as encourages innovation in cutting-edge biometric solutions.”

The new frontier of chip-based biometrics, which are built on the EMV standard, enables biometric cardholder verification to be integrated with the technology used by roughly 3.3 billion chip cards around the world and that financial institutions, solution providers and others in the payments ecosystem rely upon.

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