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only 37% of US merchants EMV ready – four months after the liability shift

The Strawhecker Group (TSG) has released survey results that estimate 37% of US merchant locations are EMV ready four months after the October 1st, 2015 liability shift.

TSG’s previous survey of payment processors and other payment providers completed last September estimated that over 40% would be EMV ready by this time, showing a slower pace of implementation than expected before the shift.

“It appeared that some merchants delayed EMV migration completely until the holiday season ended to prevent friction and confusion at the checkout line,” explains Jared Drieling, Business Intelligence Manager at TSG.

“However, merchants need to understand the consequences of delaying EMV migration now that they will face the fraud liability risk. 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.”

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

The three biggest hurdles slowing EMV implementation are payment processor readiness, gateway readiness, and technical staff resource availability.

Nearly 40% of respondents felt that media coverage had a negative impact on their EMV implementation efforts.  One survey respondent said, “(it) confused the merchants more than it helped”, while another added “it was a Y2K kind of scare thing; the world is going to end if you don’t take care of EMV.”


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