At first glance, Amazon’s entrance into the U.S. telecom market doesn't make sense. There are already more cellphones than people. And 65 percent of Americans currently have a smartphone in their pocket.
Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) credit cards are a 20-year-old technology that has become the standard payment option in most retail markets around the world. Because each card comes equipped with a “non-clonable” chip, EMVs are more secure than their traditional magnetic swipe & sign counterparts.
Despite these advanced security features, EMV chip-enabled cards are almost nonexistent in the United States.
Experts predict that by the end of 2014, nearly 8 percent of U.S. debit cards and 25 percent of credit cards will come equipped with chip-enabled EMV technology. And that by 2018, these numbers could approach 100 percent penetration.
The reason behind this national push for EMV credit cards?
EMV credit cards have become the global standard in nearly every major market except the United States. But even this will change as 2015 liability regulations place greater pressure on merchants that have yet to embrace EMVs. If and when fraudulent activity occurs, non-EMV businesses will have to cover losses out-of-pocket.
Imagine a future in which shoppers pull up to your checkout counter, wave their credit cards or mobile phones, and then walk out with their purchases.
It almost sounds too good to be true.
The future is here. Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express have all launched their own contactless payment technologies, and there are now a host of mobile-ready apps that allow transactions to happen with a wave of the phone.