Security & Fraud

Consumers Still Lacking EMV Insight

Though the shift to the chip cards tied to EMV had a major turn in the press, it seems that that the days leading up to the actual Oct. 1 liability handoff had still left many consumers in the United States unaware of just what to expect from the transition, according to a survey by ACI Worldwide.

In late September, the clock was ticking for the sea change across the payments landscape, which took liability away from issuing banks and to the merchants themselves. The ACI study, conducted across 1,000 consumers, all of them in the U.S., found that at that point many users had not yet gotten their chip-enabled cards, at roughly three in five respondents, or 59 percent.

And in a stunning statistic that pointed to utter lack of consumer education, 67 percent surveyed said that they had received no information from their credit card issuers of their banks explaining just what EMV entailed or how it would impact those consumers.

Perhaps even more alarming were findings that touched on people who had received their new cards – but had no real idea what they signaled. Only 32 percent of consumers who had gotten their chip-enabled cards knew that the U.S. was moving to EMV, and most did not know why they had gotten the new cards.

Drilling down a bit into the demographics of how informed respondents may have been, perhaps not surprisingly millennials, tech-savvy as they are (and within the 18- to 34-year-old range), and Gen Xers (35- to 44-year-olds) showed a high level of EMV awareness at 78 percent. A bit lower on the totem pole were 66 percent of 45- to 54-year-olds, who said they were aware of EMV and its implications.

Geography also seemed to play a role in information and misinformation.  Roughly a quarter of respondents from the Western U.S. said ACI, thought the new chip cards had come in the wake of data breaches, a fallacy held by 17 percent in the Northeast and 10 percent in the Midwest and only 7 percent in the South.

Given this backdrop of less than stellar preparedness, ACI posited that there could be an impact during the holiday shopping season, one that could be “major” in scope as the payments continuum, ranging from issuers to acquirers to retailers still had been (hurriedly) adjusting to the game changing new rules and technology. Though it’s still early innings yet, and Thanksgiving looms, we’ll quickly find out whether EMV has truly caught on where it matters most: at the consumer level.



The September 2020 Leveraging The Digital Banking Shift Study, PYMNTS examines consumers’ growing use of online and mobile tools to open and manage accounts as well as the factors that are paramount in building and maintaining trust in the current economic environment. The report is based on a survey of nearly 2,200 account-holding U.S. consumers.