The EMV chip is widely recognized as one of the payments industry’s most powerful tools in the fight against card fraud.

While the U.S. may have initially been slow to embrace EMV, industry research suggests that our migration to the global security standard is accelerating. recently reported that 600 million new EMV chip cards have been placed in the hands of U.S. consumers since last October, and that 75% of consumers nationwide now possess at least one EMV-enabled card. A recent article published by TSYS reveals that up to 37% of POS terminals in the U.S. are now EMV-compliant as well.

The majority of EMV-enabled cards in use today are credit, but EMV for debit is making inroads across the U.S. marketplace. The Payments Security Task Force has projected that 98% of all cards in the U.S. will feature EMV chips by the end of 2017.

These statistics are positive indicators for U.S. consumers, as historically EMV has delivered on its promise to dramatically reduce counterfeit card fraud. Mastercard reports that, in January 2016, EMV-enabled merchant sites in the U.S. saw a 27% reduction in counterfeit fraud (by dollar volume), as compared to the same period last year. The company has also seen counterfeit card fraud drop up to 80% in countries that have already standardized on EMV security technology.

Most U.S. consumers by now recognize the value of EMV security technology, as 59% of consumers surveyed by say they have “no complaints” about the technology.

But, the benefits of EMV extend beyond the realm of security. With more than 80 nations worldwide converted to the technology, according to EMVCo, EMV is now the dominant payment standard globally. Increasingly, it is becoming the only payment option for international merchants as they phase out their magnetic stripe card readers altogether. This means that Americans traveling abroad should have at least one EMV card on hand for easy payments and access to their accounts.

There is a sea of new security technologies transforming the payments industry today, but the EMV card remains the most visible innovation for banks, credit unions and merchants seeking to maintain the trust and confidence of their members and customers.

Michelle Thornton

Michelle Thornton

Michelle Thornton is Manager, Core Products for CO-OP Financial Services, a credit union service organization based in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.