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Why Isn't the U.S. on the EMV Standard Yet?

EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) credit cards have taken the retail world by storm. That is — everywhere but in the United States — a market with more than 1 billion credit and debit cards, most of which aren't equipped with EMV technology.

In fact, Chase only recently became the first major bank to begin offering these chip-enabled credit cards within the U.S.

By contrast, most of Europe and Asia have already made EMVs mandatory. And in 2015, they will become the official standard in neighboring Canada.

So why hasn't the EMV become standard yet in the U.S.?

There are actually a few reasons:

1. Merchants Must Invest In New Equipment

In order to read chip-enabled EMV credit cards, merchants must invest in newer payment terminals at their cash registers. In markets where the technology has become mandatory (i.e. the rest of the world), the added expense isn't optional.

But in the U.S., many retailers don't want to spend extra money unnecessarily.

However, it's worth noting that EMV credit card readers are investments that pay for themselves very quickly. This is because chip-enabled payment technology helps to reduce credit card fraud — often by a lot. This means fewer expenses and more sales in the long run.

2. New Compliance Rules

Another hurdle to widespread adoption in the U.S. is compliance. Merchants must follow updated rules and regulations in order to begin accepting EMV payments. These rules are in addition to the guidelines that already govern credit card transactions.

However, this hurdle may soon disappear as new rules help shift credit card fraud liability to whichever side of each transaction isn't EMV-ready.

In other words:

  • If a customer uses an EMV card at a retail POS that doesn't have an EMV reader, the merchant is 100 percent responsible for any credit card fraud that happens.
  • If a customer uses a traditional swipe-and-sign credit card at a retail POS that does have an EMV reader, that customer's bank is responsible for any fraudulent losses that might occur.

In order to reduce future liability, both merchants and banks are highly incentivized to make the transition to EMVs as soon as possible.

3. American Pride?

In the U.S., we generally like to be first in everything. But because the rest of the world has already embraced EMV technology, we’re the last ones to the party.

So perhaps our lingering reluctance has something to do with pride. It sounds a bit ridiculous at first, until you remember our refusal to abandon imperial weights and measurements in favor of the metric system. (Which makes more sense? Having 5,280 feet in a mile … or having 1,000 meters in a kilometer?)

Ready to Switch to EMV Credit Card Readers?

EMV credit card technology offers a lot of terrific benefits. You can:

  • Keep fraud to a minimum (fewer costs and higher sales)
  • Limit your liability (even fewer costs)
  • Join the international community of retailers

True, there might be a few more rules to follow. And you may have to train your employees how to use EMV credit card readers. But the investment is worth it. And by 2018, you may not even have a choice in the matter. EMVs are becoming increasingly mainstream as American consumers demand more payment security.

Fortunately, we're here to help you with the transition. To begin exploring your EMV options, use the free links below:

  • To learn more about EMV credit cards and readers, click here.
  • To learn more about credit card processing at BluePay, click here.
  • To speak with our support team today, click here.

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