Update on EMV Migration in the US: Leaving the Station and Building Up Steam

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12 December 2014


EMV migration in the US is finally showing good signs of progress. This report looks back at the major barriers Celent identified last year and examines what has changed in the last 12 months.

In November 2013 Celent published a report called EMV Migration in the US Progress Report: What Progress? Indeed, at the time, there was a discernible lack of progress despite the efforts of card networks and industry bodies, such as Smart Card Alliance. A year later, the situation is markedly different, with good progress being made on all fronts.

In the new report Update on EMV Migration in the US: Leaving the Station and Building Up Steam, Celent reviews how the industry has been dismantling the barriers to EMV over the last 12 months. It also includes a Frequently Asked Questions section based on queries we receive from our clients considering EMV strategies. Finally, the report sheds light on some of the questions we get about advanced EMV capabilities, such as profile management and scripting, PIN management, and multi-application cards.

“The US EMV train has finally left the station and is building up steam,” says Zilvinas Bareisis, a senior analyst with Celent’s Banking practice and author of the report. “If you are an issuer and are yet to get on board, now is the time.”

As we predicted last year, most issuers are focused on basic EMV capabilities and on issuing the first wave of basic EMV cards. Such a “walk before running” strategy is sensible for most issuers, particularly those that rely on third party processors for managing their relatively small portfolios. However, those that plan further ahead and consider utilizing more advanced features of EMV, such as updating authorization engines to make use of additional data, or deploying scripting to better manage the card over its lifecycle, are likely to yield a better return on their EMV investment.