- By the end of 2021, 11.98 billion EMVCo chip cards were in circulation internationally, an increase of about 10%, or 1.1 billion, over 2020, according to research from EMVCo, the payment technology standards entity controlled by the world’s biggest card companies.
- Per EMVCo’s research, 68% of all cards issued are EMV-enabled, and 90% of all card-present purchases internationally use EMV chip technology, the company said in a June 8 press release.
- In addition, 81.7% of U.S. card-present transactions used EMV cards as of Q4 2021, per the company's research. The Q4 2021 adoption rate of EMV chip cards in the U.S. was 62.8%.
In the release of EMVCo’s new figures, Robin Trickel, EMVCo executive committee chair, said in a statement that the organization will concentrate on developing new payment methods and improving the contact chip specifications to improve the security of Elliptic Curve Cryptography, a specific approach to public-key cryptography.
Generally, the organization seeks to standardize payment technology among merchants, issuers, payment networks and other industry participants worldwide.
“The globally deployed EMV chip infrastructure makes it possible for chip technology to be used consistently anywhere in the world to help deliver the same result – more secure, seamless and reliable in-store payments,” Trickle said in the statement. “With 12 billion EMV cards deployed worldwide, and issuance and adoption seeing sustained increases globally, EMV chip provides a trusted foundation that is supporting the ongoing shift away from cash and towards digital payments.”
EMVCo has spent years introducing and proposing new payment protocols. In August 2017, the organization released QR code payment specifications that let merchants accept QR code payment tools from multiple providers in one standardized fashion.
Last month, it presented new contactless payment specifications for public comment until June 20. There are about 20 separate contactless payment “kernels” sellers use globally, but the proposed standards would simplify them all and lessen the costs of using multiple kernels.
In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic ramifications, the role of debit cards has become more critical. In 2020, the federal government mailed Visa prepaid debit cards to millions of Americans who didn’t receive their COVID-19 stimulus payments, MoneyWise reported. The cards were also reportedly sent to taxpayers who didn’t receive their tax refunds via direct deposit.
Still, a 2021 report from ACI Worldwide, a payments software provider, found that less than half of U.S. gas stations anticipated adding chip readers to all of their gas pumps by an April 2021 deadline for implementing EMV standard card readers developed by Europay, Mastercard and Visa.
More than one-quarter of ACI survey respondents said they installed the improved readers at three-fourths of their stations, and less than one-fourth had installed them at half of their stations, ACI said.