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Over one billion EMV cards now active

06 October 2010  |  15399 views  |  0 card chip

Over a third of the world's payments cards - around one billion - are now EMV with two thirds of terminals - 15.4 million - also on the standard designed to secure transactions at the point-of-sale.

The impressive figures - produced by EMVCo, the standards body owned by American Express, JCB, MasterCard and Visa - come despite the United States' continued absence from the scheme.

"Europe Zone 1" which accounts for most of the continent's countries, has 555.7 million EMV cards, an adoption rate of 65.4%, while the region also has 9.4 million terminals - 84.7% of the total. "Europe Zone 2" has 22.8 million cards and 458,000 terminals active, an adoption rate of 11.5% and 61.2%, respectively.

Within the Asia-Pacific region, 305.1 million cards - 26.6% - and 3.2 million terminals - 41.6% - are in operation. For Canada, Latin American and the Caribbean, there are 182.2 million cards - 26.4% - and two million terminals - 55.6%.

Formed in 1999, EMVCo's role is to manage, maintain and enhance the EMV Integrated Circuit Card Specifications to ensure its interoperability and acceptance around the world.

The US has been the one major player to resist the expensive migration to the standard from mag-stripe cards. However, pressure has been building in recent months, with calls coming from merchants, led by giant Wal-Mart, for its introduction amid fears that international fraudsters will turn their attention to American shores.

These concerns were echoed over the summer when Richard Oliver, a senior official at the US Federal Reserve, expressed alarm that the country is being left isolated by its reliance on mag-stripe cards while the rest of the world migrates to EMV.
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