EMV Cards Look Like One Big FAIL

Well, Q1 of 2016 is in the books, and I’m officially calling EMV adoption a BIG FAIL.

There are those that probably disagree with me, but let’s be realistic about what success actually might entail.   Here’s an excerpt from a January QSRWeb article about continuing tech trends for the upcoming year – 

Continued EMV adoption — The EMV migration has begun, and the pace of adoption is faster than industry analysts predicted over the last couple years. An Ingenico Group survey found that 60 percent of consumers have already received EMV cards, and of that group, almost half — 48 percent — had actually used one to make a purchase. I expect that this number will continue to significantly increase through 2016 and also anticipate that card issuers will begin to transition to PIN-based EMV Chip cards in 2016. Consumers will begin to associate these cards with identity protection, making EMV migration as much about brand protection than a liability shift. EMV is taking off and adoption will only continue to grow; QSRs will be left behind if they are not prepared. 

Looking at this list –

Identity protection – how can EMV protect your identity when no one asks for ID and there’s no PIN mechanism to make sure it’s your card?  If I find your card in the parking lot (just like the old swipe only cards), then I can use it until you call it in lost or stolen – online or in person.  Seriously, I can’t think of ONCE when we’ve been asked to show ID to use a card at an EMV compliant terminal.  It’s mind boggling.  Retailers are getting the short end of this stick, since they’ve got to scour their chargeback reports with even more vigor than before; they’re not liable for transactions made with lost or stolen cards but most banks are pushing those chargebacks onto the merchants and hoping they won’t notice it.  Shameful, really.

Brand protection – I’m still shaking my head at this one.  Whose brand is being protected by forcing people to incorrectly use a product (I’m all for Chip and PIN, don’t get me wrong) that doesn’t work half the time, causes such slow moving lines at the checkout that more and more retailers are dropping the EMV insertion and going back to swipe?

60% of consumers have EMV cards and 48% have used EMV terminals to make a purchase.   Is that 48% of the 60%?  Or 48% of the whole?  In either case, I don’t suppose it matters because consumers and retailers DO NOT CARE.  Consumers want fast and easy.  Retailers want fast and easy.  Everyone wants the cheapest possible transaction – except for the banks and interchange, but I’m not talking about them – and THIS IS NOT IT.