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When faster EMV arrives, what will it look like?

May 5, 2016

Since the rollout of the EMV requirement for tier 1 retailers late last year, there have been some admitted growing pains involved.

Since the rollout of the EMV requirement for Tier 1 retailers late last year, there have admittedly been some growing pains involved. While emerging data suggests that payment card fraud at these companies has declined somewhat sharply as a result of the rules, anecdotal evidence shows consumer frustration seems to be on the rise. Fortunately, the world’s two largest credit card giants are moving quickly to address the latter problem.

Visa and MasterCard, which put the new EMV mandate into place originally, are now moving to make each of these transactions faster, according to a report from Banking Exchange. Visa’s Quick Chip for EMV and MasterCard’s M/Chip Fast are designed to dramatically reduce the wait times as each purchase is processed, and could arrive in stores in the relatively near future.

While EMV has always been more secure, it's also about to become much faster.While EMV has always been more secure, it’s also about to become much faster.

What does this mean for all involved?
When it comes to the practical upshot of these new technologies being rolled out, the simplest answer is that it will reduce wait times during busier periods for businesses, the report said. Nationally, more than 1 million merchants have already adopted EMV technology as a means of making their transactions more secure. However, that represents just 20 percent of all merchant locations in the country, and while the number is growing quickly, issues such as wait times have proven a hurdle for more widespread adoption.

“Some merchants are reporting transaction times of [four or five] seconds,” Ajay Bhalla, MasterCard’s president of enterprise security solutions, told the site. “Some are reporting longer. The idea is to solve the issue for merchants who are seeing longer transaction times. You have to remember that the core EMV technology works very, very well. But there are a lot of extraneous factors which get into play. Merchant education, consumer education, how to put the card in. Then of course there are infrastructure issues, [such as] legacy systems some merchants may have. Or bandwidth issues on the line. Which leads to some of these issues where [transactions] take longer than they should.”

But with the efforts to speed up transactions – and in doing so reducing consumer frustration with the process while simultaneously handling a larger number of purchases in a shorter amount of time – that might become a thing of the past, the report said. Visa now claims that it can reduce wait times from four seconds or more to just two seconds with the new technology.

Why get involved?
The sooner small businesses in particular get involved with being able to handle EMV transactions, the better off both they and their customers are likely to be. This is true mainly because EMV significantly reduces the likelihood of purchase fraud that can cause headaches for both businesses and consumers. And with the new, faster technology, there’s even less of a reason to feel as though taking the step will be problematic in any way.

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