Visa has signalled its determination to push the United States into abandoning mag-stripe cards in favour of EMV chip technology; a move it says will not only improve security but accelerate the adoption of contactless mobile payments.
The clamour for America to join Europe and take up chip and PIN has been growing over the last year, with retailers and bankers voicing concern over the fraud risks associated with mag-strip technology.
Now card giant Visa has set out its programme to drive the adoption of dual-interface chip technology to "help prepare the US payment infrastructure for the arrival of NFC-based mobile payments" as well as improve security and international interoperability.
The company has set out a three-step plan to encourage dynamic chip authentication adoption:
- From 1 October, 2012, it will expand its Technology Innovation Program to the US, eliminating the requirement for merchants to annually validate their compliance with the PCI Data Security Standard if at least 75% of their Visa transactions originate from chip-enabled terminals. To qualify, terminals must support both contact and contactless chip acceptance, including mobile NFC.
- Visa will also require US processors to be able to support merchant acceptance of chip transactions no later than 1 April, 2013.
- From 1 October 2015, there will be a liability shift for domestic and cross-border counterfeit card-present POS transactions, meaning that if a contact chip card is presented to a merchant that has not adopted equivalent terminals, liability for counterfeit fraud may shift to the retailer's acquirer. Fuel-selling merchants will have an additional two years for transactions generated from automated fuel dispensers.
Jim McCarthy, global head, product, Visa, says: "By encouraging investments in EMV contact and contactless chip technology, we will speed up the adoption of mobile payments as well as improve international interoperability and security. As NFC mobile payments and other chip-based emerging technologies are poised to take off in the coming years, we are taking steps today to create a commercial framework that will support growth opportunities and create value for all participants in the payment chain."