MasterCard joins push for US EMV switch

MasterCard joins push for US EMV switch

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.

Comments: (4)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 31 January, 2012, 14:582 likes 2 likes

At the POS, the cashier never ever looks at the signature, so you do not even have single factor auth (because it can be a copy of the magstripe).  US could have been cycling POS terminals for the past 10 years to ease the cost.  To me it seems like a stubborn point of principle, and one which has no rationale at all.  Maybe NFC cards will enable US to leapfrog to there (getting EMV on the way) and save some face, because at the moment its a joke.

Nick Collin
Nick Collin - Collin Consulting Ltd - London 31 January, 2012, 15:091 like 1 like

Well that's a bit underwhelming.  And a missed opportunity to support full chip and PIN.

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 31 January, 2012, 16:362 likes 2 likes

Yet another card brand seems to be putting a lot of faith in the, as yet, far from ubiquitous “future innovations” as justification for not also moving ahead with the already proved Chip and Off-Line PIN.  It will be interesting to what forum(s) in the USA this will be debated in, perhaps Merchant Associations or given the fraud implications, will the Government step in?    

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 01 February, 2012, 09:201 like 1 like

Yeah.  Go Mike.  Why do we in the developed world (and Visa and MC in the States) need to sell it to the undeveloped world as a means of supporting new, exciting and innovative technologies?  Why can't we just say: "Hey Guys, look at your fraud figures and look at this chip and PIN stuff - it works", and then hit them with international liability shift.  If we can stop the buggers charging back the fraud they have caused with thier insistance that magstrip is secure because it's online, then essentially I would be happy, and I know of several organisations that would be several million quid better off, and happy.  I don't want to force EMV on these people, I just want them to pay for the fraud.

Oh, and can we have the money back that we have wasted on PCI DSS please?