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Report: How ready are U.S. retailers for EMV? Not very.

BY Marianne Wilson

The overwhelming majority of merchants are not ready for the shift to EMV.

Only 27% of U.S. merchants will be EMV-ready by the October 1st liability shift, down from the 34% estimated in March, according to a survy by The Strawhecker Group (TSG).

By December 2015, 44% of U.S. merchants are expected to adopt EMV, however EMV-readiness will not reach a threshold of least 90% until 2017— more than 15 months after the shift.

TSG, a management consulting company focused on the global payments industry, found that the three biggest hurdles slowing EMV implementation are processor readiness, gateway readiness, and replacement point-of-sale (POS) terminal readiness. The results were based on a sample of 62 payment service providers.

“Though the cost to become EMV-ready may be substantial to many, merchants with fraud exposure should get ready for the liability shift,” says Mike Strawhecker, principal at TSG. “This would include merchants that are targets for fraudsters because they sell items that might have high value and/or can be easily resold such as electronics, household appliances, and jewelry.”

With low EMV-readiness estimated just two weeks away from the deadline, it is clear that this process has been far more complicated than in other geographies where it has been implemented before, due to the sheer size and complexity of the payments industry in the U.S., added Strawhecker.

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