Thursday , December 13, 2018

Visa’s Counterfeit Fraud Declines, But Some Other EMV Measures Signal a Conversion Lull

Counterfeit fraud losses continue to decline, according to Visa Inc.’s latest report about the U.S. conversion to the EMV chip card standard. But Visa’s EMV dollar volume was lower in September than in June, and the number of merchants that accept chip cards remained unchanged at 3.1 million.

Visa says card-present counterfeit fraud dollars for merchants that have completed their chip card acceptance upgrades were down 82% in quarter ending June 30 from levels they experienced in the September 2015 quarter, just before the card networks’ U.S. EMV liability shifts took effect. In the March 2018 quarter, counterfeit fraud was down 75% from September 2015.

Under the liability shifts, the merchant bears responsibility for any counterfeit fraud resulting from a transaction in which it couldn’t process an EMV credit or debit card payment. Traditional magnetic-stripe cards are much more vulnerable to counterfeiting than EMV chips. Counterfeit fraud for all U.S. merchants is now down 47%, Visa says.

Other data in the report Visa issued Tuesday is for September, and some of it indicates a lull or even slight decline in EMV activity over the summer. In addition to no apparent growth in EMV-accepting merchants, dollar volume on Visa EMV cards declined from $76.7 billion in June to $72.4 billion in September. The September EMV transaction count was 1.7 billion, unchanged from June. Some 98% of Visa’s overall September payment volume was on EMV cards, however.

And while the total number of Visa EMV cards eked past half a billion—500.3 million versus 499.7 million in June—the mix changed. Visa chip credit cards declined from 210.6 million to 207.9 million over the three months, while EMV debit cards increased to 292.4 million from 289.1 million.

A Visa spokesperson was unavailable Wednesday morning to comment on the report. The document itself, however, notes that payment volumes fluctuate due to seasonality. The credit card decline might indicate the conversion of some Visa cards to the Mastercard brand as the two leading card networks constantly compete for issuers’ loyalty.

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