Guest Column | May 3, 2013

EMV "Chip Card" Technology Coming To U.S.

By Lorena Harris, VP Corporate Marketing, Vantiv

As part of her role as VP Marketing for Vantiv, Lorena directs the Vantiv Insights research on consumer experience with payments.  Working with Mercator, she leads the design and development of all the research-based educational materials provided on

EMV is a global standard for credit and debit payment cards based on chip card technology with enhanced security. Embedded in the card is a microprocessor containing cryptographic processing techniques, which when utilized, make card-present payments more secure. More than one billion cardholders worldwide benefit from EMV and U.S. acquirers are required to certify their processing platforms by April 2013. Vantiv was proud to announce it was the first to achieve two critical EMV integrations with Visa and MasterCard earlier this year and plans to complete its remaining certifications on time.

What EMV Means for Acquirers, Issuers and Retailers
“Vantiv, as an acquirer is subject to this mandate, and the mandate, basically, is that we will support and be able to process an EMV-enabled transaction all the way through the payment life-cycle, from the authorization process to the settlement process,” says Patty Walters, Senior VP, Merchant Products and Security, Vantiv.

“For issuers or retailers, there’s an opportunity for risk avoidance concerning a published liability shift planned by the brands. By supporting EMV, issuers are able to shift all counterfeit liability occurring on that card to the retailer, a cost that is currently paid by the issuer. If the retailer wants to remove the risk of this liability shift, they must be able to support EMV-enabled transactions at their point of purchase,” says Walters.

What Do Consumers Think about EMV?
EMV technology is certainly on the minds of merchants and financial institutions, but consumers don’t seem to be paying very close attention. In our research, just 15% of consumers said that they have an EMV-equipped debit or credit card; 19% were not even sure. One-fourth of those who have them said that they used their card in EMV chip-mode outside of the U.S. That makes sense, since the U.S. is one of the few countries that has not implemented EMV.

But consumers are more uncertain when you ask them about usage. Sixty five percent said that they have used their EMV cards in chip-mode in the U.S. But of course that is virtually impossible, given the very low deployment of EMV POS terminals in the U.S. today.  They probably mean that they “use” their EMV card by swiping it like any other card.

The Takeaway
U.S. consumers lack clarity around EMV and one can hope that the brands will offer a level of education through print and media coverage. Both merchants and financial institutions will play a pivotal role in communicating the knowledge and benefits around EMV. In an environment where consumers are highly concerned about security, the benefits are significant and will provide the critical storyline to incent usage. Companies that roll out EMV earlier than their competitors may be able to differentiate themselves based on their commitment to security.

Concludes Walters, “EMV offers a vast security improvement to what we have today with magnetic stripe. The U.S. is the largest payment market in the world and as such, we have become a target of bad guys who wish to leverage our infrastructure to their advantage. EMV offers a tremendous opportunity stop counterfeit fraud in the card present environment. Clearly we will have challenges due to the size and complexity of our market. But 1.62 million EMV cards and 24 million EMV terminals are evidence that EMV is well defined and successful in other regions. Now is the time for the U.S. market to begin its own EMV effort and establish a new payments infrastructure that is significantly more secure for our own and the generation to come. This is our post to stand.”

For more information on what EMV means to you, visit

For more information about the Vantiv Insights research, visit

Related Information:
Top 10 Payment Trends to Watch in 2013
Vantiv Insights Paper - EMV Liability Shift for ATM Owners
Vantiv Insights Blogs on EMV