Surveys Find U.S. Retailers Unprepared for EMV Shift

by Mercator Advisory Group 0

Road blocks reportedly are helping prevent retailers from meeting an October 2015 card network deadline to avoid assuming liability for non-EMV transactions, including requirements that retailers significantly upgrade their payment systems and possibly upgrade or replace card readers at every point-of-sale terminal to accommodate the standard’s sophisticated security measures.

Moreover, whereas the major card brands have all issued specifications on how they plan to accelerate chip migration, domestic debit networks have not, according to comments made to Retail Touchpoints by Dan Heimann, manager of solutions consulting at ACI Worldwide. The debit payment industry includes not only the major credit card brands but nearly 20 independent debit networks, many of which “have yet to declare a direction on how they plan to support EMV in the United States,” he said.

From Retail Touchpoints:

“Where retailers can’t really make a decision today is what kind of programming they need to put into their POS terminals and in-store devices to support debit cards in the U.S. So while they can move forward to a degree with credit, the picture is still very uncertain with debit cards.”–Dan Heimann

For these and other EMV-related migration issues, Mercator Advisory Group continues to anticipate that the card networks will push back their fraud liability shift deadlines consistent with what they have done in other markets that faced similar compliance difficulties. As for the debit networks, they have agreed to a common debit identifier provided by Discover to overcome a problem complying with a “Durbin” rule under the Dodd-Frank Act that merchants be given the option of two debit networks for routing debit transactions. Visa and MasterCard have not supported the networks’ move and instead say they will require issuers to support their debit identifiers as well, thus potentially increasing the issuer cost for chip cards requiring more memory. That ongoing debate between the debit networks and card brands in itself could delay the EMV migration.

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