Mercator Blog

Interest in EMV Remains Strong, Though Young Adults and Mobile Payers Are More Likely to Be Bothered by Its Process
Date: November 14, 2016
Research Team
A year has passed since the October 2015 EMV liability shift spurred broader EMV card reissuance and more merchant acceptance of EMV chip cards. Yet the U.S. payment cardholder base is still not fully converted to EMV, and not all merchants in the U.S. enable customers to insert their chip cards into a point-of-sale reader for authorization. The transition to EMV has not been easy for consumers or merchants.

Issuers have not yet fully converted their payment card base to EMV cards, though more credit cards than debit cards cards have been reissued as EMV-enabled. According to data from Mercator Advisory Group’s CustomerMonitor Survey Series, 3 in 5 respondents reported having an EMV payment card as of June 2016. Of these, 3 in 4 had inserted their cards into a reader in a POS terminal, up from just 1 in 3 a year earlier. In 2015, a flurry of security breaches had heightened concerns about card security to the point where 4 in 5 respondents either had an EMV card or were interested in obtaining one.

Over half the respondents to the 2016 survey who used their cards in readers indicated the process took longer than a swipe, though most were not bothered by it. However, more than 1 in 4 EMV card users indicated they were bothered, confused when using their cards, or avoid stores that force them to dip their cards into a reader rather than swipe them, especially young adults and consumers who use mobile payments, more than half of whom said so.

A recent survey from Nerdwallet and Harris Poll found that almost one-third of Millennials (31%) had negative feelings toward EMV chip cards. This was the highest percentage of any age group surveyed and the only generation to prefer traditional magnetic-stripe cards over EMV. Inserting an EMV card in a reader and waiting for authorization may take only seconds longer than swiping a card but Millennials, accustomed to texting, instant messaging, and Snapchatting, have little patience for delays and expect every aspect of their life to move fast, even payments.

Yet, even Millennials are getting used to the EMV process. The latest 2016 CustomerMonitor Survey Series data, soon to be released in a Mercator Advisory Group report on Consumers and Credit, suggests that while Millennials and mobile payers are still more bothered than average by the EMV process, security is of increasing concern to them. As they become more familiar with dipping their cards, fewer are bothered, confused, or avoid stores that force them to use EMV readers. In fact, by 2016, more than 2 in 5 young adults and mobile payers indicate they notice that the process is longer but are not bothered by it.

That said, mobile payments is a way to circumvent using EMV cards, and Millennials are most likely to be using mobile payments, as they often view their mobile phones as their lifeline.

For more information on U.S. consumer use of mobile payments, EMV use, and security issues, please refer to Mercator Advisory Group’s recent CMSS Insight Summary Report, Mobile Payments: Market Leadership Is Up for Grabs, as well as our soon-to-be-released report on credit card use. These reports are based on an online survey of a sample of 3,000 U.S. adults that reflects the U.S. Bureau of the Census demographic profile. The reports are accessible by CustomerMonitor Survey Series members.