U.S. ATM operators still in the process of upgrading to EMV-chip card acceptance must also be ready to accept debit cards with common application identifier coding.

The EMV Migration Forum has issued some guidelines for ATM operators to follow for use of the common AID, a response to the Durbin Amendment's mandate that merchants have the option of at least two routing choices for debit transactions.

Even though ATMs are not included in the federal mandate, the debit cards used at ATMs will have common AID coding, so the units need software that allows an ATM to choose a routing option, said Randy Vanderhoof, director of the EMV Migration Forum.

The new guidance from the forum "is for those who are still struggling to determine how all of this will work with EMV," Vanderhoof said. For the most part, larger bank-owned ATM systems already have EMV and common AID acceptance, Vanderhoof added.

Basically, an ATM upgraded to support a common AID will be able to route debit transactions to an AID from a major card brand or a common AID supporting other, regional networks.

The ATM will "look and see which AIDs are supported on the card and compare that to which networks have been certified for that ATM to process through," he said. If the ATM is not capable of choosing, it will default to the branded AID.

When history judges how the U.S. handled its migration to EMV-chip cards, the bump in the road caused by the dual AID for debit transactions will be a key part of the story.

The capability for providing at least two routing choices for debit transactions was not previously built into EMV coding. Other global markets which use EMV-chip cards had did not have to deal with a mandate addressing routing options, nor the need to code cards for a large number of debit networks.

The debate over governing the common AID and which entity would provide the technology unfolded over a two-year period before the regional networks agreed to Visa and MasterCard providing those options.

When Visa and First Data's Star Network agreed to share technology for debit routing in February of 2014, all others quickly followed suit, striking up license agreements with Visa and MasterCard.

In addition to accepting cards with regional and branded AIDs, the ATMs may also encounter cards from regional debit networks that carry only the common AID, Vanderhoof said.

The Debit Network Alliance, a company owned by 10 major PIN debit networks, revealed last month the development of its own application identifier for EMV-chip cards.

Those cards would serve as an example of the type an ATM might encounter without a branded AID on it.

However, the most likely scenario will remain a card showing a payment-network specific and internationally recognized AID along with the U.S. regional networks' common AID.

EMV specifications describe three options for application selection when there is more than one application identifier — automatic selection based on application priority; cardholder selection in which the ATM may offer cardholder choice by displaying the application labels; and domestic processing for country-specific application selection established through previous agreements.

ATM operators can download the common AID guidance whitepaper on the EMV Migration Forum site

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