Visa Chip Card Growth Makes the United States the Largest Chip Market

Visa Chip Card Growth Makes the United States the Largest Chip Market

By Ellen Richey

Four years after we embarked on a plan to introduce more secure chip technology, more people are using a Visa chip card in the United States than in any other country in the world. More than 141 million Visa chip cards are now in circulation, according to the latest data. That eclipses the roughly 129 million Visa chip cards in Brazil and 124 million cards in the United Kingdom.

What is even more remarkable is how quickly the U.S. reached this milestone. Only a year ago, we had fewer than 20 million Visa chip cards. But we’ve have seen steady adoption, month after month, since that time.

Retailers are also taking note. From nationwide retailers like Target to local candy stores and book stores, chip-enabled devices are in use at about 301,000 merchant locations, representing a 547 percent year-over-year increase. We are strongly encouraged by the number of small businesses that are using the new chip readers – in fact, small businesses accounted for about 50 percent of chip payment volume last month.

These signs point to the progress that the industry has made ahead of October 1, when the new liability system takes effect. They also affirm the commitment that the industry has made to security.

Since August 2011, Visa has led the industry in promoting the adoption of chip technology and supporting our financial institution and merchant partners as they deploy chip cards and chip-enabled readers. The goal is to better protect everyone from counterfeit fraud, which represents more than two-thirds of the fraud committed in stores today. That’s because chip cards create a one-time use code, or “cryptogram,” that’s different for every transaction – making it virtually impossible for thieves to use stolen account numbers to produce counterfeit cards. And this in turn makes merchants less attractive targets for hackers and consumers are even more secure.

We expect to see many more merchants and card issuers migrate to chip technology in the months ahead, but we don’t expect everyone to make the change right away. In fact, the roadmap was designed with flexibility in mind, allowing everyone to make the transition on a timetable that meets their needs. Some merchants, for example, will be ready later this fall; while others plan to incorporate the change in their normal replacement cycles further down the road. Canada – where chip technology is now the norm – took a few years after the liability shift date to reach their adoption goals.

In other words, the October 1 date is not the end but the beginning of a process that will ultimately lead to near-universal adoption of chip technology. With the milestones we’ve hit today, we’re well positioned for strong adoption over the next two to three years. It will take time, but we’re well on the way to the next level of payment security for consumers, businesses, and financial institutions. Check your wallets for a chip card today – and look for #chipready merchants in your area where you can use it!

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