More than two-thirds of all U.S.-issued MasterCard consumer credit cards are now chip-enabled and the number of merchants accepting EMV transactions continues to climb, MasterCard said March 31.

At the close of the first quarter of this year, 67% of MasterCard credit cards were chip-equipped, up from 59% at the end of 2015. MasterCard did not provide numbers for EMV debit cards. The U.S. is the last major market to embrace EMV, and a liability shift for in-store counterfeit card fraud went into effect Oct. 1, 2015.

MasterCard also said 1.2 million U.S. merchant locations are now accepting chip card payments, nearly a 50% increase from 800,000 locations on Dec. 31, 2015. The total number of merchants accepting EMV card transactions includes many national retail chains and approximately 1 million local and regional merchants, MasterCard said.

Purchase, N.Y.-based MasterCard noted that the Payments Security Task Force last year forecast that 98% of all U.S. payment cards would contain chips by the end of 2017.

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