The promise of EMV is a borderless credit and debit card payment system that stops fraud early in its tracks at point of sale. Why then has the U.S. been so reticent to migrating to EMV? Perhaps it is due to the fact that, as with most promises, the devil is in the details.

In the U.S., the relationships and roles of card acquirers, issuers, networks and merchants is substantially different and, in some cases, more complex than much of the rest of the world. In many countries outside of the U.S., major banks typically do both card issuing and acquiring. Whereas in the U.S., a number of very large banks operate large portfolios of card customers whom they issue cards to; however, they do very little on the acquiring side, so there is a "distance" between the issuing and the acquiring businesses. Since both sides (issuing and acquiring) will be affected by EMV, both sides need to make investments. As there is little, if any, coordination between the two sides as to how those investments will get made and who foots the bill, it results in a stalemate in terms of adopting new payment technologies.

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