Only 1 in 4 Debit Cards Will Have Chips by December

September 15, 2015, Written By Bill Hardekopf
Debit card isolated on a white background

Despite a widespread effort to integrate EMV technology, only one in four debit cards in America will have smartchips by December, according to new research from Discover-owned Pulse. 90% of financial institutions are committed to adding security chips to their cards in the near future, but only a quarter of them, or 71 million cards, are expected to do so before the end of the year.

Banks and retailers are supposed to be ready with chip-embedded cards by the deadline on October 1st. Those who are not ready for the switch will be held liable for all fraudulent charges that come through their systems–based on whichever party has the least amount of security. In other words, if a card provider issues chip cards but a retailer does not accept them, the retailer will be responsible for unauthorized transactions. If a retailer accepts EMV cards but the bank has not issued chipped cards yet, the bank will be responsible.

Unfortunately, it appears as though many retailers and banks are not going to be ready by October 1st. Another study showed only 22% of small businesses are prepared for the switch, and many of them remain unaware of the upcoming deadline.

Pulse’s research shows 73% of debit cards will have chips by the end of 2016, and 96% will have them by December of 2017.

The cost of a chip-embedded debit card is twice that of a standard magnetic-strip card. A chip card is expected to cost a large bank an average of $2.17 per card. Credit unions estimate the cost to be $2.90 per card.

The information contained within this article was accurate as of September 15, 2015. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.