America will have finally completed the shift to EMV chip cards by the end of 2017, according to a trade body set up to push the migration from magstripe plastic.
Visa and MasterCard set out a roadmap for the introduction of chip cards back in 2011, with liability for fraud-related losses switching to retailers that have not upgraded their hardware in October 2015.
According to the Payments Security Task Force (PST), a cross-industry group set up by the two card giants, momentum is building as that deadline looms. Last August PST members predicted that half of their card will be chip-enabled by the end of 2015, but the latest survey of eight issuers has pushed this up to 63%. By the end of 2017 the country is expected to hit 98%.
Chris McWilton, president, North America Markets, MasterCard, says: "These numbers show real movement from plans to action as issuers, merchants and others in the payments system engage collaboratively to bring chip cards to the US."
However, a similar push has not been seen among acquirers, with the latest PST estimates suggesting that 47% of merchant terminals will be enabled for EMV chip technology by the end of the year, unchanged from a November survey.
Meanwhile, Visa has launched an online toolkit designed to help business owners manage the move to EMV, providing a 10-step implementation guide, downloadable tools and resources, and a module to train employees on accepting chip cards at the point-of-sale.
Stephanie Ericksen, VP, risk products, Visa, says: "It is a priority to increase merchant awareness and understanding, given a liability shift in October 2015, after which merchants who are not ready to accept chip cards may be responsible for counterfeit fraud."