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69 Percent Of Cardholders Not EMV Equipped

Banks still haven’t sent new EMV credit and debit cards to more than two-thirds of their customers despite a looming Oct. 1 deadline, according to a new poll from CreditCards.com.

According to the late-January survey of 1,038 U.S. adults, only 31 percent said they have received a new credit card that contains an embedded EMV chip. The remaining 69 percent are still using cards that store their data on a magnetic stripe on the back.

The survey’s results also make clear that while many banks are dragging their feet in upgrading customers’ cards, they’re doing so with an eye to how much those customers are likely to spend. Almost half (49 percent) of high-net-worth cardholders — those with $100,000 or more in investable assets — had been issued EMV cards in January, while only 13 percent of cardholders with incomes less than $35,000 have received the new cards.

And while 31 percent of credit cards — most of which come from a few large banks — have been upgraded, debit cards (which come from banks and credit unions of all sizes) are dragging down the average. Overall, only 26 percent of respondents said they had received EMV payment cards.

EMV cards are also more likely to have been issued to younger customers (43 percent of those under age 35) than older ones (21 percent of those over age 65), and more likely to have gone to men than women (36 percent versus 27 percent). Cardholders in the Northeast and Western U.S. are also significantly more likely to have received an EMV chip card than those in the Midwest and South.

Card issuers have until the beginning of October 2015 to issue the new cards, and merchants have the same deadline for upgrading their point-of-sale systems to accept EMV cards. After that, incase of fraudulent card use, liability for the fraud will fall on whichever side (merchant or bank) hasn’t upgraded to EMV.

Although many banks have said they’re stretching out their EMV rollouts and are sending EMV cards to high-value and high-transaction customers first, a MasterCard executive said in late January that the migration is “progressing very nicely.” MasterCard SVP of Product Delivery Carolyn Balfany said that of 1.2 billion U.S. consumer payment cards (from all card brands combined), between 100 million and 150 million were already EMV-enabled by the end of 2014, and estimated that “greater than half of all U.S.-issued cards and merchant terminals will be chip-enabled” by the end of 2015.

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