We'll reach chip card saturation in 2020


While most Americans have a chip card in their wallet by now, it’s likely to take another five years before all U.S. transactions are made with the fraud-fighting card technology.

That’s according to the Mercator Advisory Group, which annually forecasts the number of EMV-enabled cards and how many chip transactions will be made in the coming years.

Chip card distribution began in earnest in the U.S. in 2015, and reached an estimated 58 percent saturation of all credit cards by year’s end. Yet, the dollar amount of actual chip transactions was a far lower proportion – just 15 percent – as retailers and small businesses have been much slower to adopt the technology than card issuers have been to roll it out.

Mercator projects that the distribution of chip cards will reach 84 percent by the end of 2016 and 95 percent in 2017. It will then inch slowly upward to reach 100 percent in 2020.

However, EMV-compliant transactions won’t reach full saturation until a year later. Indeed, chip transactions are not expected to break even 50 percent of total card transactions until 2017, followed by four more years of incremental ascent before all credit card volume is transacted with chip cards in 2021.

Mercator’s forecasts are based on quarterly performance data reported by the card networks, card issuers, merchants and point-of-sale terminal manufacturers, which it compares to data gathered from its annual consumer payments survey, conducted with more than 3,000 U.S. adults. Results were released Jul. 21, 2016.


EMV chip card saturation predicted by 2020
EMV chip card saturation predicted by 2020

See related: 8 FAQs about EMV chip cards


Published: August 17, 2016

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Updated: 10-23-2016

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