EMV Credit Card Deployments to Make Gradual Progress in 2015
NEWS ANALYSIS: Businesses in the U.S. can expect to start seeing significantly more cards with EMV chips in 2015, but that doesn't mean progress is steady.I was on the phone with a customer service representative at Bank of America asking about one of their Visa cards with an EMV chip. I knew I was going to Germany in January, and I wanted to have the proper cards for when I went. Sadly, the conversation wasn't encouraging. "Those aren't available in the United States," the representative said. "You mean I can't get a card with a chip from anyone?" I asked. "No," she said, "you can't use those in the U.S." While the representative was talking, I was looking at images of Visa cards from her bank, with EMV chips clearly shown. I thanked the representative for her help and hung up. Next I called American Express. "We aren't offering cards with chips in the U.S. yet," the customer service representative told me. I looked at the Amex card in my hand where I'd found the toll-free number that I was calling. I turned it over to reveal the EMV chip embedded in it already. "So if I have an American Express card with a chip, can I get a PIN number for it?" I asked. "No," he said, "we don't offer those in the United States." If anything helped explain the seemingly confused state of the EMV chip conversion in the U.S., this lack of up-to-date information on the part of the folks who issue credit cards certainly explained at least some of it. But clearly, it didn't really explain everything.
If things were that far behind in the U.S., why was it that I've been able to make purchases at Wal-Mart and Sam's Club using cards with EMV chips and PINs for months now?