Fiserv, which owns the Accel debit network, has signed a license agreement with Visa for its common application identifier (AID), following a similar agreement last week between Fiserv and MasterCard.

Such licensing agreements have been years in the making, as the various debit networks have been working to determine how to make sure EMV-chip cards, which improve security over magnetic-stripe cards, can comply with the Durbin amendment's mandate of having multiple routing options for debit transactions.

The debate has centered on whether a card brand should provide the technology and also govern its use, or if the technology should be open to all networks with no strings attached. These deals, along with a recent pact between First Data and Visa, show the debit networks and the card brands are finding common ground.

Brookfield, Wis.-based Fiserv has studied the common AID issue for the past two years, said David Keenan, general manager of network solutions at Fiserv, in an interview last week discussing the MasterCard agreement. At the time, he confirmed that Fiserv would need a licensing agreement with Visa to use its common AID for Visa transactions.

The Fiserv agreement allows Visa to offer more choices to issuers and merchants with "a clear roadmap for streamlined, cost-effective chip adoption," Bill Sheedy, executive vice president of corporate strategy and government relations for Visa, states in the companies' March 17 press release.

"With more than 7 million Visa EMV chip cards already issued in the U.S., it is important to continue the momentum towards more widespread adoption," Sheedy says.

Fiserv did not join the Debit Network Alliance when it was formed late last year, but it worked with the group's predecessor, the Secure Remote Payment Council.

Last year, Visa and MasterCard said they would collaborate to provide a "multi-access common AID that all others can adopt."  The card brands accept each other's transactions through their common AIDs, in addition to providing them as free technology to other networks.

The industry's common efforts stalled last year when federal Judge Richard Leon declared the Federal Reserve had to reconsider whether its implementation of debit routing followed the spirit of the Durbin mandate.

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