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Study: How quickly are retailers implementing EMV?

BY Dan Berthiaume

It has been roughly four months since the Oct. 1, 2015 liability mandate for U.S. retailers to adopt EMV – how much progress has been made?

The answer is not all that much, at least according to a recent survey. Management consulting firm The Strawhecker Group (TSG) recently surveyed 92 payment processing providers who, together, service about half of U.S. retailers that accept card payments. Results indicate about 37% of U.S. retail locations are EMV-ready. That figure is close to 10% below the 40% compliance rate predicted in a September 2015 survey of the same payment processors.

By June 2016, it is estimated that consumers will be able to use their EMV credit and debit cards at 50% of U.S. retail locations. EMV-readiness is not expected to reach a threshold of least 90% of U.S. retail locations until 2017 – more than 15 months after the shift.

TSG found that the three biggest hurdles slowing EMV implementation are payment processor readiness, gateway readiness, and technical staff resource availability. In addition, nearly 40% of respondents felt that media coverage had a negative impact on their EMV implementation efforts.

“It appeared that some merchants delayed EMV migration completely until the holiday season ended to prevent friction and confusion at the checkout line,” said Jared Drieling, business intelligence manager at TSG. “I suspect that many merchants that have delayed, especially merchants in higher risk categories, felt the impact of the liability shift last year and we’ll see them aggressively ramp up plans to migrate.”

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