Independent ATM providers now have a voice on the EMV Migration Forum.

The National ATM Council, a trade association that represents independent ATM providers across the U.S., has joined the forum created by the Smart Card Alliance to discuss and encourage payments industry collaboration in preparation for the country’s switch to EMV chip-card technology.

The forum conducted its first meeting in mid-September, with the anticipated doses of optimism and concern. The various committees created at the first meeting are expected to explain their goals and timelines at the forum’s next sessions Dec. 6 and 7 at Visa’s Foster City, Calif. headquarters.

The ATM Council believes it can “provide constructive and well informed input to the forum and other appropriate venues” because it had previously formed its own EMV working group to address challenges specific to ATM providers.

“Having the National ATM Council join the EMV Migration Forum will add a significant resource to help the forum better evaluate and address the special challenges associated with EMV implementation for ATMs here in the U.S.,” Randy Vanderhoof, acting director for the EMV Migration Forum, said in a Dec. 5 press release.

The timing and conditions for the proposed U.S. migration to EMV chip-card technology “are some of the most critical issues facing our industry today and in the next several years to come,” Jim Cabe, the National ATM Council’s vice chairman, said in the release.

“The U.S. rollout of EMV will present operational and financial challenges for independent ATM providers and the hundreds of millions of consumers that rely on independent ATMs as their primary source for cash,” added Cabe, who serves as the EMV Working Group chairman.

The working group has studied the experiences independent ATM operators had in Canada during that country’s EMV migration so as to better address, and avoid, some of those issues.

Bruce Renard, the council’s executive director, believes the U.S. faces an even more complex ATM system and financial services industry than those in Canada and other nations that have implemented EMV.

Without supplying the forum with information that can identify and address past ATM-related issues, the industry faces an alternative that “entails the real potential for serious operational difficulties and disruption on the part of the industry and resulting dissatisfaction and confusion for U.S. consumers — results that we must all work together to avoid,” Renard said.

The National ATM Council has had a full plate the last two months. In addition to researching EMV issues, the council in November filed a court motion to exclude independent ATM operators from the proposed $7.25 billion settlement of a lawsuit brought by merchants over credit card swipe fees.

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