After almost sixteen years of trying to encourage EMV adoption in the US, MasterCard has hit upon a potential reason why it's not catching on: its closed, proprietary standard. But that's changing today, with the financial giant announcing it's making some of its circuit card tech open to other US debit networks instead of waiting on them to come up with their own solution. An alternative to magnetic strips, EMV claims to provide more secure payments thanks to the use of cryptographic algorithms and user-specific PINs, but hasn't captured much interest stateside. Perhaps in opening the standard, MasterCard and crew will spur its US adoption and thus garner more EMV followers. Of course, it has to catch on before NFC replaces cards entirely, rendering the issue moot.
(Update: We erroneously stated EMV isn't popular outside of Europe and Asia -- it's actually prevalent in other parts of the world as well, just not in the US.)
MasterCard Strengthens Commitment to Make U.S. EMV Migration Easier
Opens Proprietary, Market-Ready Debit Solution to Speed Industry Adoption
PURCHASE, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--MasterCard today announced it is making some of the company's proprietary technology solutions available to other U.S. debit networks. This decision was made to provide an option to support debit EMV transactions and reinforce the company's continued support of the U.S. migration to the EMV standard.
"By making our EMV solution available today, debit networks, merchants, acquirers and processors can take advantage of a market-ready solution currently in place. This will allow financial institutions to begin issuing EMV cards across their portfolios immediately, rather than waiting for a new solution to be developed."
In opening this technology standard, MasterCard will allow acquirers to brand transactions originating from the Maestro AID (application identifier) for all debit networks within the United States.
"We felt it was important to take this step for the greater good of the future of U.S. payments," said Chris McWilton, president, North America, MasterCard. "By making our EMV solution available today, debit networks, merchants, acquirers and processors can take advantage of a market-ready solution currently in place. This will allow financial institutions to begin issuing EMV cards across their portfolios immediately, rather than waiting for a new solution to be developed."
Today's announcement is the latest in a series of decisions by MasterCard to advance the future of electronic payments in the U.S. With the availability of this technology, issuers will be able to simplify their EMV implementation and enabling chip entry with potentially lower costs. At the same time, as merchants and their acquirers map out their terminal plans, they will be able to further optimize their investments, simplify their certification processes and choose their routing of debit transactions.
"We have spoken extensively with the EMV Migration Forum and other groups about the need to cooperate and find a common way to support debit transactions," said Jane Cloninger, director, Edgar, Dunn & Company. "Based on our experience around the globe, this announcement is a good step to continue the momentum of the U.S. market's migration toward EMV. We applaud MasterCard for taking a leadership position in this turning point for the industry."
Additional details around the implementation of the Maestro AID will be made available to all parties involved in the coming weeks.