Visa is reporting a milestone in France’s migration to the global EMV standard for chip payments following the processing of the first cross-border smart card transaction in a French merchant outlet.
The transaction took place in a Banques Populaires terminal – a significant development, says Visa, because the Natexis Banques Populaires group processes almost 14 per cent of the country’s billion annual transactions and is a key player in the introduction of the new infrastructure.
Albert Galloy, chip migration manager at Visa’s French office, used a UK Visa chip card issued by Barclaycard to buy a €5 CD. The purchase was witnessed by representatives of the French Visa group member, Carte Bleue; the French bank card association, Cartes Bancaires; Banques Populaires; and a Parisian regional bank, BICS-Banque Populaire.
The transaction kicks off a three-month pilot of the new technology, in which Banques Populaires is placing five terminals in outlets that attract visitors from countries that are already issuing EMV Visa cards. To date, there are two terminals in Paris and more are scheduled to be installed in Calais.
Other banks are expected to begin similar pilots this spring.
Nationally, France aims to have upgraded all terminals to accept EMV cards by May 2003, with the ATM upgrade complete by July 2003. French cardholders are still using Visa cards carrying the national B0’ application and will begin to receive EMV cards at the end of 2002.
“EMV chip technology is an important tool in the battle against card crime. It will protect stores and customers and reassure cardholders that plastic is an efficient and safe way to pay,” says Luc André, deputy managing director of Natexis Banques Populaires. “Against this background, it is important that we can offer an infrastructure that enables merchants to accept the new cards.”