In its annual report, the Smart Payment Association said global shipments of smart payment cards (including those with EMV chips) rose 34 percent as the high-tech credit and debit cards made their way into the U.S.
The SPA’s report follows several prior reports regarding issues with the card — including frustrated consumers and a slow adoption rate by retailers.
In the U.S. 570 million EMV — named for the banks that created the system: Europay, MasterCard and Visa — cards were shipped last year, which is a 211 percent increase over 2014. In the fall of 2015, retailers were required to accept EMV cards.
Globally, over 2 billion smart payment cards were shipped. Andreas Strobel, president of the SPA, said the figures “demonstrate how EMV is now a truly global, established, secure and interoperable infrastructure.”
“SPA reported the first billion of smart payment card shipments in 2011 and it took the industry only four years to deliver the second billion.,” Strobel said. “Crucially, the data also reveals how fast the adoption of EMV-standard technology in the United States took off in a significant way in 2015, as issuers proceeded at full speed with the implementation of EMV migration.
“High-volume shipments in China are contributing too, with a 27 percent growth versus previous year,” the trade group said in its report. “Demand for contact-less payment cards continued to surge in geographies where the technology already has a foothold.”
The trade group said that last year, 56 percent of all smart cards that were shipped globally “featured contact-less technology — a 24 percent growth [rate] as compared to the year before. ” The SPA noted that similar to prior years, the increase was due to demand in Asia and Europe. “Last year, 53 percent of all cards shipped in Europe were contact-less, while in the Asia-Pacific region an impressive 74 percent of cards featured contact-less technologies,” the SPA added.
With contact-less payment cards, Strobel said that consumer demand for “faster and more convenient ways to pay proved the driving force behind a further steep growth in contact-less shipments in Europe and Asia. With EMV adoption powering ahead in the U.S., issuers are in a unique position to make the jump directly from ‘swipe and sign’ to ‘tap and go’ to everyone’s benefit: customers, merchants and them as well.”
Despite the SPA’s take on EMV benefits, demand and adoption, many U.S. retailers and consumers have expressed frustration over the technology. The reasons for the slow adoption are varied and complex, as WWD reported last fall. For smaller-sized retailers, the cost to implement the EMV readers is a barrier. Last fall, the National Retail Federation called the implementation requirement a “half-baked solution.”
In a recent analysis of the U.S. market, CardHub said the requirement is designed to address fraud. In its EMV Adoption Survey, CardHub analysts said retailers’ lack of adoption “is problematic considering merchants that do not implement EMV-compliant payment terminals are now liable for fraudulent purchases made in their stores. And the roughly $8 billion in fraudulent card purchases made in the U.S. each year certainly represents a mountain of risk for resistant retailers.”
CardHub’s survey also revealed that 41 percent of consumers “don’t have or don’t know they have an EMV card.”