New research from Boston-based Aite Group drives home two startling points – chip-and-PIN is coming at high speed to the United States and near-field communication (NFC) payments are too, said Aite Group senior analyst Julie Conroy McNelley.

Her claims are based on a survey of executives attending MasterCard’s Americas Global Risk Management Conference in April.

McNelley elaborated that two years ago Aite Group asked executives at the same conference when chip-and-PIN was coming to the US – 36% said never. “Now that number has fallen to 17%,” McNelley said. And 19% believe it will be here inside one to two years.

She added: “We believe it no longer is a matter of if but when chip and pin is coming.”

Fraud, she elaborated, is not the principal driver. What is is “the international use case,” where more U.S.-based customers traveling abroad are coming home with a perceived need to carry a chip-and-pin card that is more readily accepted in more non-US locations.

A shift in favor of encouraging PIN-based transactions over signature based is another driver, she said.

If anything, McNelley indicated there is more bullishness about NFC, which allows payment simply by waving a chip-enabled smartphone. “Only 7% of the executives we surveyed think NFC will never come here.” 

She added: “Within one to two years, most phones will be NFC capable and merchants are getting ready.”

A plus is that new merchant terminals in most cases can process both NFC transactions and chip-and-PIN cards.