Discover has won the support of ten debit networks to provide a common debit application identifier for the US migration to EMV Chip and PIN.
The ten debit networks - AFFN, ATH, CO-OP Financial Services, Jeanie, Nets, Nyce, Presto!, Pulse, Shazam and Star - will license the D-Payment Application Specification (D-PAS) from Discover - as a common platform.
Discover beat out competition from MasterCard and Visa to win the mandate following an evaluation from a working group convened under the auspices of the Secure Remote Payment Council (SRPC).
Diane Offereins, president of payment services at Discover, says: "Discover has deployed D-PAS for the past four years and already has millions of cards in market among international issuers. We are confident it is the right path forward for US debit networks."
The SRPC - a cross-industry trade association formed in 2010 - says the decision is the culmination of months of evaluation of different proposals. It has called on Visa, MasterCard and outlying debit networks to get behind the initiative and take steps to commercialise it.
The group says it will also evaluate the use of one-time card number technology developed by First Data/Star as a further protection layer against skimming and data breach frauds.
Randy Vanderhoof, executive director of the Smart Card Alliance, welcomed the move as a significant breakthrough in the debit routing issue: "The limits that put the Visa and MasterCard option at a disadvantage for the regional debit networks, namely support for contactless, limits over cardholder verification choices, and switching concerns have been addressed by using DPAS. Discover is offering up its significant investment and intellectual property to the regional debit networks in exchange for having a chance at having its Pulse debit card being one of two application choices on a chip card. That puts them in a stronger position with issuers choosing to use them as their second debit option under Durbin."
US regulations passed last year on debit card interchange fees and routing require that issuers support at least two unaffiliated brands on debit cards in order to provide merchant routing choice - a requirement that will need to be accommodated within chip technology in the future.
Says the SPRC: "Deployment of a single interoperable chip and PIN solution for PIN debit should put in place one of the biggest remaining puzzle pieces to spur the US payment industry toward adoption of chip technology."