Data from EMVCo shows that 54.6 percent of all cards issued globally by the end of 2017 were EMV-enabled.
In addition, the number of EMV payment cards in circulation around the world increased by 1 billion over the previous 12 months — to a total of 7.1 billion.
“Both EMV chip card issuance and EMV chip transactions surpassing 50 percent globally is testament to the increasing maturity of the worldwide infrastructure, and [is] a significant milestone for the payments community,” EMVCo Executive Committee Chair Jack Pan commented. “EMVCo continues to work closely with payment stakeholders to evolve the EMV Specifications to provide a secure, interoperable foundation for emerging technologies across face-to-face and remote environments.”
EMVCo is collectively owned by American Express, Discover, JCB, Mastercard, UnionPay and Visa.
The data also showed that 63.7 percent of all card-present transactions made around the world between January and December 2017 used EMV chip technology. That is an increase from 52.4 percent in 2016.
Researchers pointed out, however, that because of the nature of some regions, more recent data could show higher overall adoption rates and transaction volumes than the total shown for 2017.
Regionally, the EMV chip card adoption rate is highest in Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean (85.7 percent), followed closely by Europe Zone 1 (84.4 percent). The United States is second to last place at 58.5 percent.
And when it comes to the percentage of card-present transactions that are EMV, Europe Zone 1 is at the top with 98.9 percent, and Africa and the Middle East stand at 90.9 percent. The United States is also trailing in this area at 41.2 percent.
It’s important to note, however, that the technology has been deployed in areas outside the United States for significantly longer periods of time, which accounts for why the U.S. is currently lagging behind.
“The most recent transaction volume data indicates that we are moving toward EMV chip technology becoming the foundation for contact and contactless card-present payments worldwide,” Pan said.