The stats are in: Credit card fraud is down 75 percent because of chip technology


(BPT) - The whole idea behind integrating EMV® chips into credit and debit cards was to make transactions safer and more secure for consumers and merchants. A recent report by Visa shows that it has hit the mark. Visa took a look at the numbers, comparing chip card use by consumers and adoption by merchants from the initial rollout of chip cards in 2015 to now.

What they found is pretty staggering. Counterfeit fraud, where a criminal steals your payment card number and imprints it onto another card to use in-person at their favorite store, is down 75 percent from September 2015 to March 2018 at U.S. merchants that are chip-enabled.[i] The sharp drop illustrates that the chip technology is doing its job as intended. That's important, because criminals are always on the prowl searching for an easy way to get money.

Data that travels through a payment network when you insert your chip card is different than the data that is sent when you swipe your payment card using its magnetic stripe. The chip generates a one-time code that can only be used for one transaction. If cybercriminals steal your card number from the merchant’s system or from a data breach, it is essentially impossible to commit counterfeit payment card fraud because the one-time code cannot be re-used and the card number alone is not enough to complete a transaction at a point-of-sale (POS) machine.

So chip cards and terminals protect the customer from his or her stolen payment card number being counterfeited and protect the merchant from having to refund the money while losing their merchandise. In the end, everyone wins except for the fraudster.

Some other findings from the Visa study include:

  • More than 3.1 million U.S. merchant locations or 67 percent of U.S. storefronts are now fully chip-enabled and accepting chip cards. As recently as September 2015, only 392,000 merchants were accepting chip transactions. That's a 680 percent increase since chip technology debuted in the U.S.[ii]
  • 97 percent of overall U.S. payment volume in June 2018 was on chip-enabled cards.[iii]
  • In September 2015, $4.8 billion was spent on chip transactions. In June 2018, that figure had jumped to $76.7 billion.[iv]

Reasons for merchants to switch to the chip

More and more merchants are accepting chip card transactions, but some, especially smaller merchants, have been slow to adopt the technology. But there are good reasons for updating to accept chip card payments, not the least of which is customer expectation. People who have chip cards expect the payment security they provide, and not accepting chip payments might be seen as a negative with consumers.

 Other reasons for adopting chip technology include:

  • Implementing chip-based POS terminals is easier than ever before. It has become standard technology among many merchants and their technology suppliers.
  • Transactions involving chip-based payment cards at many merchants are faster than when EMV chip cards first became available thanks to Visa Quick Chip technology.
  • Implementing and investing in chip-based POS systems in many cases can also support new payment technologies like contactless payments.

For more information about the study, or to read the findings, visit Visa, Inc. at https://usa.visa.com/visa-everywhere/security/visa-chip-card-stats.html.

EMV® is a registered trademark in the U.S. and other countries and an unregistered trademark elsewhere. The EMV trademark is owned by EMVCo, LLC.



[i] Counterfeit fraud reduction at fully chip-enabled U.S. merchants for the quarter ended March 2018 compared to the quarter ended September 2015.

[ii] Fully chip-enabled merchants defined as locations where 75% of card present payment volume is chip-on-chip for the quarter ended June 2018.

[iii] Overall U.S. payment volume on EMV cards includes transactions made on all terminals (chip-enabled and non-chip) for the quarter ended June 2018.

[iv] Transaction volume based on VisaNet data for U.S. locations with chip transactions as of quarter ended June 2018.