U.S. EMV Hits Milestone: 1 Billion Visa Chip Transactions in March

U.S. EMV use has hit a milestone. Visa said that for the first time, the number of Visa chip card transactions topped 1 billion last month, a 330 percent increase from March 2016. The announcement comes as the payment network reported a 42 percent overall increase in processed transactions in its 2017 fiscal second quarter.

The value of payments in Visa-branded EMV-capable cards hit $49.1 billion in March, up 165 percent from $18.5 billion in March 2016. Merchants that accept EMV chip cards represent 49 percent of Visa’s in-store payments volume. About 75 percent of those merchants are small and midsize businesses, Visa said.

Visa also reports in its latest EMV update that:

  • 2.02 million U.S. merchants now accept EMV-capable cards, up 98 percent from 1.02 million in March 2016. That 2.02 million figure also represents a 409 percent increase from the U.S. EMV liability in October 2015.
  • For those merchants that accept EMV cards, counterfeit fraud losses decreased 58 percent in December 2016 compared to December 2015.
  • Consumers in the U.S. held some 421.1 million Visa-branded chip cards in March, up 164 percent from March 2016.

In related news, Visa’s GAAP net income decreased 75 percent in the second fiscal quarter ended March 31, 2017, to $430 million. Visa blamed non-recurring tax and expense items related to the reorganization of Visa Europe for most of that decrease. Excluding those special items, net income increased 27 percent. Net operating revenue increased 23 percent year-over-year, to $4.5 billion.

“In the face of geopolitical uncertainty, Visa continues to execute well against our operating plan and strategic priorities, delivering sustained growth across nearly every part of our business,” said Alfred F. Kelly, Jr., CEO of Visa Inc.

Related stories:

On the Wire: Visa Talks Q2; New Products from Shopify, Billtrust Hit Market; More

A snapshot of payments-related press releases is available to you throughout the week. Click below for more details on the following headlines:

On the Wire: Shopify Announces New Free Card Reader for In-Person Selling

Press Release

Shopify Inc., the leading cloud-based, multi-channel commerce platform designed for small and medium-sized businesses, today announced its new free Chip and Swipe card reader for in-person selling. With Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) support, the new Chip and Swipe reader lets any Shopify merchant in the United States sell offline in a fast and secure way. The card reader was launched at Unite, Shopify’s annual partner and developer conference.

Shopify makes every aspect of starting, running and growing a business easier. With the new Chip and Swipe reader, business owners can have the full power of Shopify behind them when selling in-person. The reader seamlessly connects with a seller’s Shopify store, eliminating the need for multiple systems to run a single business. Merchants benefit from the ability to manage their entire business from just one place and do not need to spend hours updating in-person sales with those made on their online store.

“Shopify is already known as an industry leading ecommerce provider, and with our new Chip and Swipe hardware, we are demonstrating our deep investment in the retail world,” said Craig Miller, Chief Product Officer at Shopify. “We’re proud to launch a beautiful, entry-level product that lets anyone sell in-person. Now any of our merchants can use Shopify to power every aspect of their business, at every interaction.”

The first piece of hardware created in-house by Shopify, the new reader’s design was directly informed by extensive research and user-experience feedback from our merchants.

The Chip and Swipe reader is made for selling at festivals, pop-ups and markets. Unlike other readers that must plug into a headphone jack, the Shopify Chip and Swipe reader features wireless functionality and an extra-long battery life. The card reader was also developed to grow with business owners as they move from casual selling to a permanent retail location, and includes a sturdy base that allows the reader to sit on a table or counter top.

An industry first, the Chip and Swipe reader will be offered at no charge for both new merchants and existing Shopify merchants without a Shopify point-of-sale (POS) solution, enabling anyone to start selling in person.

EMV Compliant
The new reader makes it easy for all Shopify merchants to be EMV compliant and reduce their vulnerability to fraud. EMV chip acceptance decreases the risk of financial losses for business owners, while protecting customers’ data. For businesses with more established retail spaces, Shopify also offers a Tap, Chip and Swipe card reader that supports EMV and contactless payments, including Android Pay and Apple Pay.


  • Completely wireless, no headphone jack needed
  • One-week battery life on a single charge
  • Supports Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover
  • Rates as low as 2.4% per swipe
  • Supported on iOS & Android
  • Pairs easily using Bluetooth Low Energy connection
  • Sleek, elegant design with base to power and support the card reader in a retail space
  • Integrated with the Shopify ecosystem
  • No charge for new and existing Shopify merchants without a Shopify POS solution; retails for only $29 USD in the Shopify Hardware Store

On the Wire: Billtrust Announces Industry’s First E-Invoicing and E-Payment Business Directory

Press Release

April 20, 2017 — Billtrust, the leader in payment cycle management solutions, announced today the availability of the Billtrust Business Directory, the industry’s first directory of small business eBilling preferences. Introduced at Billtrust CONNECT 2017, taking place in Orlando, Florida, this new offering has access to over 10,000,000 businesses in the US and their billing and payment preferences. Billtrust clients will be able to reach unprecedented levels of eInvoicing and ePayment adoption rates by leveraging this new solution.

The Billtrust Business Directory is a private ecosystem of Billtrust’s B2B clients. The Directory can be leveraged to accelerate and increase the transition of end users from print invoices and paper check payments to faster and more efficient online channels. By analyzing the behavior patterns of businesses in the database who are already inclined to receive and pay invoices electronically, the Billtrust eAdoption team helps Billtrust clients customize their marketing efforts to dramatically grow their eInvoicing and ePayment rates. A higher eAdoption rate results in lower operational costs, improved DSO, and higher customer satisfaction.

“We are tremendously excited about this new offering,” said Flint Lane, CEO and President of Billtrust. “The Billtrust Business Directory can provide our clients with a 10 – 50 percent jump in their eInvoicing and ePayment rates, and simultaneously reduces operating expenses and decreases payment delivery time.  As the leader in B2B Billing and Payment, only Billtrust has access to these billing patterns so we’re uniquely positioned to offer this kind of solution.”

Clients can learn more about this exciting new solution at the eAdoption client panel “Keys to Driving eAdoption Success” at Billtrust CONNECT 2017 on Thursday at 11:20 am.

Billtrust CONNECT 2017 is a two-day event that provides a well-rounded agenda focused on business pain points that affect CFOs, credit managers and controllers.  In addition to the launch of the Billtrust Business Directory, this year’s event features exciting presenters, including keynote speaker Alison Levine.  Ms. Levine is a history-making polar explorer and mountaineer who will not only inform, but inspire attendees with discussions that reflect this year’s theme: “Explore, Engage, Evolve.” Among her many accomplishments, Ms. Levine served as team captain of the first American Women’s Everest Expedition, made history as the first American to complete a 600-mile traverse from west Antarctica to the South Pole and is a New York Times best-seller.

Also included in the line-up are the Client Spotlight sessions, where Billtrust Rockstars share how they have exceeded their own business goals with proven and innovative strategies in payment cycle management solutions.  In one of the spotlights, Tina Schneider, Manager of Credit & Accounts Receivable at Medela, will discuss how they partnered with Billtrust to automate the ever-increasing virtual card payments they were receiving.  With the recently launched Billtrust Virtual Card Capture, Medela is now able to convert what was once a highly manual process to 100% automation, allowing them to reallocate resources to better support their business.

“Here at Billtrust, one of our primary objectives is to work with our individual clients and help them build what they need to improve their invoice-to-cash processes,” said Lane.  “We developed this conference to not only bring our client community together so they can learn about the latest innovations, but so they can provide valuable feedback on how we can better serve customers’ payment cycle management needs.”

This year, Connect 2017 has a record number of exhibitors participating, providing clients with an opportunity to discuss best practices and strategies on how to maximize growth and efficiency with partners who integrate with Billtrust’s Quantum solution. For more information on the agenda and how to register, please visit Billtrust Connect 2017.

On the Wire: Token Inc. Secures $15.7 Million in Series A Funding to Expand in Europe

Press Release

24 April 2017 – Token, Inc., a turnkey open banking platform provider that enables banks to generate revenue from PSD2, today announced $15.7 million in Series A funding from major investors including Octopus Ventures, EQT Ventures and OP Financial Group.

From January 2018, the European Payment Services Directive, PSD2, will require banks to grant account access to a variety of customer-permitted third party service providers for the purpose of payment initiation and retrieving information. Token’s open banking platform helps banks quickly and cost effectively meet these compliance requirements while also creating opportunities to generate new revenues. In addition to being a turnkey PSD2 compliance solution, Token also offers programmable money capabilities, empowering banks to create revenue from a number of high-value business cases including e-commerce checkout, B2B payments, bill pay, and many more.

Founded in 2015 by serial Silicon Valley entrepreneur Steve Kirsch (FrameMaker, acquired by Adobe Systems and Infoseek, acquired by the Walt Disney Company) and former Global Chief Technology Officer of Citigroup, Yobie Benjamin, Token has since grown rapidly, opening a European office in London in July 2016. Since inception, Token has also made a series of high-profile appointments, including COO, Todd Clyde, a senior executive with four consecutive successful exits from financial services technology and enterprise software companies. The company has also announced strategic partnerships with Fidor Bank and OP Bank, both known for their innovation in financial services.

The lead investor in the Series A is one of Europe’s largest venture capital teams, UK-based Octopus Ventures, which has backed a number of successful fintech businesses. Simon Andrews of Octopus Ventures, commented: “At Octopus we focus on backing unusually talented entrepreneurs and Token, headed up by serial entrepreneur Steve Kirsch, was a perfect fit for us. Token is proving that programmable money can transform the way the world transacts. We are looking forward to supporting Steve and the team in the next phase of growth and look forward to seeing the organisation develop from here on.”

Joining the round was Stockholm-based EQT Ventures, part of alternative investments firm EQT which has an impressive track record of over 170 investments and 84 exits. Andreas Thorstensson, Technology Partner at EQT Ventures and Board Member for Token, said: “Token is offering a true game changer in the world of banking and financial services. Through a secure API, they are creating an open banking ecosystem, which creates possibilities for new revenue streams for its customers and a better user experience for consumers. This also helps the banks become compliant with the new PSD2 regulation. We couldn’t be happier supporting Steve and his fantastic team on this journey.”

Additional investors include OP Financial Group, the first financial services provider in Europe to offer online banking services, Plug And Play Ventures and Digital Currency Group.

Steve Kirsch, CEO and founder of Token, commented: “Securing the backing from such world-class investors allows us to grow and execute faster on our mission to reinvent the world’s payment systems by providing common, secure access to all banks and a modern, bank-centric payment ecosystem. Each firm shares our excitement about the future of open banking and fully appreciates the impact that programmable money will have on the future of digital transactions.”