Sen. Durbin Blasts Credit Card Group for Botched Rollout of More Secure Cards

by Sarah Grotta 0

A little over a month ago, Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill) requested information from EMVCo regarding the composition of the EMV standards group. Predictably, the Senator is offering up some sharp criticisms of the organization:

Durbin latched onto that in a letter Thursday, arguing that the group lacks “diverse stakeholder voices” and that the problems with the EMV rollout are thus unsurprising.
“It appears that EMVCo is currently run by the big card networks for the big card networks,” Durbin wrote.

Following on the heels of the lawsuit that Walmart filed against Visa, the Illinois Senator took the opportunity to express his concerns about a lack of promotion around the use of EMV chip cards with PINs as the means of customer verification:

Durbin also criticized the group for not taking a position on PIN authentication, which retailers want to require. Major retailers are battling the credit card companies in court over whether they can require customers to enter a PIN.
The card companies charge a little more per transaction for signature-based purchases, so retailers want as many transactions as possible to be authenticated with a PIN. Wal-Mart sued Visa over the matter on Tuesday.

What hasn’t been discussed as much is that the EMV standards have been around for years and the global networks announced the liability shift date well in advance of its implementation. At the time, the fraud levels experienced by issuers and merchants were generally tolerable, so the industry did not react quickly to ignite the US migration towards EMV.

Additionally, with debit cards specifically, there was a matter of coming to grips with how to comply with the two unaffiliated network requirement in the amendment to the CARD Act which was created by the same Senator Durbin. This made moving forward with a reissuance of EMV cards impossible until the terms of the legislations were finalized.

Overview by Sarah Grotta, Director, Debit Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group

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