The US and EMV

Sept. 19, 2011, 6:27 a.m.
Phil Sealy, Principal Analyst


EMV migration in the US has been a talking point for some time. EMV card deployment remains limited in the US, deployed by banks and financial institutions to their tier 1 customers or those that travel abroad frequently.

In a new twist to the US EMV saga, Visa recently announced in August this year that is was going to support EMV migration in the US.

This announcement had a lot of people excited and was labeled by some as the starting point for a full nationwide EMV migration program. This is not the case and is just a support program by Visa to encourage merchants to adopt a dual contact and contactless readers to support EMV payments when presented an EMV payment card.

This program could certainly prove to be the starting point, additional driver or catalyst that pushes EMV migration, but my feeling is that in a country, which has so far avoided migration will continue to do so for some years to come.

The Announcement by Visa is also most certainly been influenced by the impending US NFC (Near Field Communications) market. With NFC starting to come to market and with expectations high, it makes perfect sense to deploy as much EMV infrastructure to support NFC contactless payments as possible.

This is a good strategy by Visa, by offering support they are simply asking the merchants to come to them. By even partially deploying EMV terminals into the US could greatly increase Visa’s position in the EMV market. Visa are looking to take as much market share as possible in the US early on and adopt a market position that will benefit Visa’s future.

For ABI Researches view on how we believe this announcement will affect the US payment cards market please see our Insights - Visa To Support EMV In The US and How Long Can America Avoid EMV?