Following the lead of rival Visa, MasterCard has set out plans to push the United States into abandoning mag-stripe cards in favour of EMV chip technology.
The clamour for America to join Europe and take up EMV has been growing over the last year, with retailers and bankers voicing concern over the fraud risks associated with mag-strip technology.
In August Visa set out a three-step plan to encourage dynamic chip authentication adoption, requiring US processors to be able to support merchant acceptance of the technology by April 2013 before switching liability to retailers that have not upgraded in October 2015.
MasterCard will follow a similar path, promising to "support current industry timelines in an effort to minimize disruption and to maximize investments across the payments ecosystem".
Like Visa, it stresses that the migration is not only about security but building a foundation for a new generation of payments and products, most importantly mobile and e-commerce.
Chris McWilton, president, US markets, MasterCard, says: "Our roadmap represents a transformational shift in the approach to payments and is not simply about EMV, chip and PIN. We're focused on readying the ecosystem to drive future innovation and provide new consumer experiences to enhance the value of electronic payments."
Last month Visa moved to clarify its position on the move, telling industry players that because the US can rely on online processing, EMV does not mean chip and PIN cards will have to be rolled out. The 'clarification' has dismayed fraud experts, who point out that signature transactions in the US exhibit significantly higher loss rates than PIN debit. In the absence of a mandatory move to PIN at the point-of-sale, it is feared that fraudsters will continue to exploit the weaknesses in the signature-based system.