Key dates for EMV in the U.S.

Last updated: 17 December 2019

EMV in the United States is here. Secure, chip-based EMV credit and debit cards are now the new way to pay, and magnetic stripe cards will eventually become a thing of the past. (It’s long overdue; the Central Bank of China recommended that banks stop issuing magstripe cards after 2012, and the European Central Bank has been having similar discussions.)

My work focuses on helping issuers make two types of decisions that are key to a successful migration: technology decisions, which can significantly simplify operations and reduce costs; and card policy decisions, which can improve the cardholder experience.

Less well-known are the dates the payment brands have set around mandates and “liability shifts” regarding the adoption of EMV for the U.S. There is only one real mandate al­­­l of the payment brands have put in place, and it’s coming up soon:

April 1, 2013 – Payment acquirer processors are required to be ready to support chip transactions in their systems.

This is an important step to ensure the U.S. payment infrastructure is ready to handle new dynamic transaction data generated for every EMV chip transaction.

The other key dates around EMV in the U.S. are not mandates, but rather provide incentives to card issuers, retail merchants, ATM providers, and gas/fuel providers to upgrade to the new technology. The dates vary by brand, so we’ll list VisaMasterCardAmerican Express, and Discover separately:


October 1, 2015 — Counterfeit card liability shift. By this date, anyone that invested in EMV technology and is fully deployed will be protected from financial liability for card-present counterfeit fraud.

October 1, 2017 – The counterfeit card liability shift extends to automated fuel dispensers.

October 1, 2017 – The counterfeit card liability shift extends to ATMs.


October 1, 2015 – Fraud liability shift.  MasterCard is putting a liability hierarchy in place.  This means that the party that implemented the most secure technology will be protected from financial liability for card-present fraud. Note: this includes both counterfeit and lost, stolen and non-receipt fraud.

October 1, 2016 – The fraud liability shift extends to ATMs.

October 1, 2017 – The fraud liability shift extends to automated fuel dispensers.

American Express:

October 1, 2015 – Fraud liability shift. Amex’s policy will transfer liability for certain types of fraudulent transactions away from the party that has the most secure form of EMV technology.

The dates for fraud liability shift on automated fuel dispensers and ATMs have not yet been announced.


Discover hasn’t announced any key dates beyond the April 2013 processor/acquirer mandate, but has said they “will support all card authentication channels (online and offline), all cardholder verification methods (including both chip and PIN or chip and signature transactions), and all commerce channels (contact and contactless, including mobile).”

Now that we’ve covered the key dates by brand, you can mark your calendars for April 1st as the U.S. kicks off the migration to EMV with its first milestone. As always, we’ll keep you up-to-date on the latest news surrounding U.S. EMV and if you have any questions, let us know below!