Throughout the past several months, EMV® has slowly begun to emerge in the checkout lanes at retailers. According to Visa CEO, Charles W. Scharf, over 750,000 U.S. locations that represent 17 percent of brick and mortar card accepting merchants currently are enabled to process chip-based EMV transactions. In other words, fewer than one in five brick and mortar merchants are accepting chip cards.

Although several retailers have already installed new EMV-capable terminals, many do not allow chip transactions and are still requesting customers to swipe their card instead of dipping their chip card. 

Why are so many EMV-capable terminals that are already installed at merchants not currently enabled to accept chip cards? 

Why the Delay?
With the EMV mandate now in effect, all retailers must make the merge to EMV-capable solutions or risk costly penalties in an instance of fraud. Despite the fact that merchants are now fully responsible for a fraudulent charge, many are taking their chances and have decided to take a wait-and-see approach with enabling their EMV terminals. 

In particular, larger merchants do not want to have to go through the lengthy process of training consumers how to use their chip cards at their upgraded terminals. On a similar note, switching to EMV-capable terminals is a large and expensive project that even larger merchants do no want to have to hassle with. 

“They see [chip cards] as just slowing down lines and chose to wait until consumers learned what to do — and do it quickly — at someone else’s store,” said Allen Weinberg, co-founder of Glenbrook Partners consulting firm. 

“Even if the software was ahead of the game, they faced long certification queues at many acquirers,” Weinberg wrote. “I believe this is going to be a problem for a while.” 

Visa anticipates 50 percent of face-to-face card accepting merchants to have enabled their chip card transactions by the end of 2016. However, even a 50 percent adoption rate can cover up a long list of small business merchants who also are delaying implementation as long as possible due to the expense of integrating upgraded EMV terminals. 

Increase of Chargebacks?
Terry Crowley, CEO of TranSend, predicts many small businesses could be hit with a plethora of chargebacks from dishonest consumers who will abuse the liability shift with merchants who still do not have enabled EMV terminals. 

“There’s an invisible hand at work that is about to kick everyone in the pants and accelerate U.S. dipping into EMV slots,” Crowley said. “If you use a chip card at a point of sale that says swipe — and you later say that wasn’t me –there’s very little a merchant can do to dispute that charge. It’s going to happen because what people aren’t thinking about is the friendly fraud. When people are made aware that if I swipe and I have a chip card, that lunch can be free if I’m a bad consumer.” 

Convenience over Security?
The primary complaint over EMV for both merchants and consumers is how long it takes to process a chip card transaction, at around 10-15 extra seconds compared to swiping a card. A chip card transaction requires the consumer to keep their card inserted into the terminal until the transaction is approved. 

“We Americans care more about convenience than we do about security,” he said. “In the end, consumers hold their banks accountable for this stuff, because they’re the ones having to reissue the cards each time there’s another breach,” said Weinberg. 

As a whole, EMV technology outweighs the negative outcome of a fraudulent situation. Delayed merchants need to begin integrating EMV-compatible solutions and start enabling their terminals for the protection of their business. Consumers should also utilize their chip card at enabled terminals and come to terms that although an EMV transaction may be slightly longer, the enhanced security features a chip card offers minimizes the potential negative impact of their card becoming compromised.