Visa drew a line in the sand four years ago: American merchants would have until October 2015 to update their systems or absorb the losses themselves. Other major card networks quickly adopted the same deadline.
Just days before the deadline, few merchants are ready.
A handful of national retailers — most prominently, Walmart and Target — have invested in E.M.V.-ready terminals and spoken publicly about the switch, but many others have stayed silent. Around 27 percent of American merchants will be ready to process E.M.V. cards next month, according to a survey conducted this month by the Strawhecker Group, a consulting firm for the payments industry.
For small sellers, the readiness rate is even lower. Banks and industry groups estimate that one in five will have their new systems running by Oct. 1. Both systems will continue to be available during a lengthy transition period.