Payments technology provider Fidelity National Information Services (FIS) and its NYCE debit network have secured a licensing agreement with Visa to use the card brand's EMV debit application identifier (common AID) technology.

It's the first formal EMV license for NYCE and allows merchants and issuers on the network to have routing choices for Visa card transactions, Jacksonville, Fla.-based FIS states in an April 1 press release.

Visa is providing the common AID to debit networks free of charge and allowing long-term access while supporting all authentication types, FIS says.

"Our challenge has been deploying EMV solutions in the U.S. without disrupting the business goals of any industry participant,” Bob Woodbury, senior vice president and general manager of FIS Payments Networks, says in the release. “This agreement will now enable us to offer this Visa-NYCE solution to all NYCE participants and will complement FIS’ substantial EMV card production and processing capabilities."

FIS is a founding member of the Debit Network Alliance, which was created to advance the use of a common AID for independent networks. The NYCE debit network is a member of the steering committee for the EMV Migration Forum and chairs the Debit Network Alliance.

The card brands and independent networks have worked on a common AID solution for two years. The debate took center stage for those planning for EMV smart card migration in the U.S. after it became apparent that Durbin amendment mandates for merchants to have at least two unaffiliated networks available for debit transactions would require new card coding on EMV cards. No other country using EMV technology had multiple debit networks to consider for routing.

As a result of licensing agreements between Visa and network operators, Visa issuers will now have one application with two application identifiers. One identifier is for Visa transactions, while the other is the common AID for Interlink, Maestro, Pulse, Star, Accel and, now, NYCE debit network transactions. As other networks adopt Visa's technology, they would be added to the common AID routing capabilities.

The same scenario would hold true for MasterCard issuers, though one identifier would be for MasterCard transactions. Debit networks must sign agreements with both card brands.

The agreement for the NYCE network marks another in what was expected to be a series of contracts after First Data secured its deal with Visa in late February to use the common AID on the Star Network.

Last month, Visa and Discover's Pulse network signed a licensing agreement, as did Fiserv and Visa. Fiserv also announced a similar deal with MasterCard.

Prior to the string of licensing agreements, executives at Visa and MasterCard predicted

the card brands and networks were getting closer to resolving the common AID debate because of a new-found collaborative spirit triggered by the Target data breach.

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