Some 2.7 million merchant locations, or 59% of U.S. storefronts, were accepting EMV chip cards as of December, according to the latest update from Visa Inc., issued Friday. That’s up from 392,000 locations in September 2015, just before the major card networks began enforcing a mandate for chip card acceptance.
Under the rule, merchants not prepared to accept an EMV transaction must bear liability for any counterfeit card fraud. A similar mandate, which applies to petroleum retailers, does not go into effect until October 2020.
The number of Visa chip cards in the U.S. has tripled since September 2015, reaching 481.8 million by December, according to the update. Two-thirds of all Visa credit and debit cards are now EMV cards, the network says, with 209.1 million credit cards and 272.7 debit cards.
In December, EMV cards accounted for $78 billion, or 96% of Visa’s total payment volume, however. That’s up from $4.8 billion in September 2015. The cards generated 1.5 billion transactions, up from 79 million.
As for the question of fraud, which EMV was introduced to combat, Visa says losses fell 70% between the end of 2015 and September 2017.
Even so, retailers suffered more fraud in 2017 compared to the year before, despite EMV, contends the National Retail Federation in its magazine, Stores. Citing a study from LexisNexis called “The True Cost of Fraud,” the article, posted earlier this week, says surveyed retailers reported 238 successful fraud incidents per month in 2017, with an average ticket of $181 each. By comparison, the figures for 2016 were 206 and $146, and for 2015, they were 156 and $113. The study last spring surveyed 1,200 risk and fraud managers across various industries.
As the study and other sources have pointed out, the introduction of EMV at the physical point of sale has coincided with a movement of fraudulent activity to e-commerce.