MasterCard has announced its support for the long delayed EMV rollout in the United States. Thankfully, its plan and timelines are congruent with that of its larger competitor, Visa. While the security and cost merits of offline PIN vs. signature verification will be loudly debated, the announcement achieves a few things.
1. A Congruent Plan. Every EMV rollout has required a consistent plan and timeline. With this announcement, the general parameters are in place.
2. Contact and Contactless EMV. Both card brands are encouraging the replacement of today’s magstripe POS terminals with contact and contactless capable devices, paving the way for NFC. Since all terminals for EMV must be replaced, let’s do a more forward looking upgrade at the same time.
3. A Way Out of Card Skimming Danger. Even if the United States chooses to not employ offline PIN or use online PIN for credit transactions, the EMV rollout more or less eliminates the counterfeit card problem. That’s an important improvement.
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.”