As of the end of last month, Visa reported that there are now 326.8 million chip cards in the U.S. market — a number that outweighs the actual number of residents in the country.
The card network’s latest data shows that the U.S added more than 100,000 chip-enabled merchant locations last month, bringing the total number to 1.3 million. That represents nearly 28 percent of the entire merchant population in the U.S. More than three-quarters of the merchants that are ready and able to accept chip card payments are small and medium-sized businesses, Visa said.
Tens of thousands of merchants are believed to activate chip payment terminals each week.
The U.S. is currently considered to be the largest chip market in the world, with more chip-enabled cards than the U.K. and Brazil combined. In California, Connecticut, New Jersey, Michigan and Pennsylvania — the top five states for chip-ready merchants — Visa estimates that one in three merchant locations can now accept chip-enabled cards.
In the eight months since the liability shift took place in the U.S., chip-ready merchants have reportedly seen a 35 percent decrease in the amount of counterfeit fraud, compared to a year prior. The steady rise in secure chip transactions has also contributed to one-fourth of dollars spent in-store on a Visa card being made using a chip-enabled card at a chip terminal. The number of Visa chip payment transactions increased to 483 million as of this June.
“More and more U.S. consumers are using their Visa chip cards to transact conveniently and securely around the world,” Visa said. “Thanks to enhancements in Visa’s acceptance rules, the approval rate for Visa chip transactions overseas is 96.8 percent. Tourists visiting the U.S. are also enjoying a better chip payment experience, as U.S. acceptance for foreign-issued chip cards continues to grow.”
Earlier this year, Visa announced the launch of its Quick Chip for EMV solution, designed to speed up checkout times and make the chip-and-dip card experience for consumers and merchants as, well, quick as the swipe. This solution is aimed at enabling faster checkout, streamlined processing and a simple implementation for consumers and merchants.
Stephanie Ericksen, VP of global risk products at Visa, told Karen Webster back in April that the new technology will allow EMV chip card processing to closely replicate what U.S. consumers have become used to with mag stripe cards, which is not only the speed at checkout but the ability to “dip” the card and put it back in their wallet while the transaction goes forward.
“With Quick Chip, consumers insert their chip card into the terminal, which automatically generates the EMV cryptogram (that secure one-time code); the card can then be removed from the terminal while the rest of the transaction continues,” Ericksen pointed out.