American card issuers and acquirers are "dragging their feet" on the transition to the EMV chip card standard, but some companies hope to speed the transition by making a clear business case for the technology.

The companies — the EMV Academy, Edgar Dunn & Co. and SCIL — want the payments industry and the retailing industry to keep in mind that EMV will reduce card fraud and chargebacks, while also making it easier to comply with Payment Card Industry data security standards and prepare for Near Field Communication.

Indeed, the payments industry apparently is awakening from a "summer slumber" and beginning to recognize that the EMV deadlines start arriving in April of next year, says Stewart Chalmers, executive director of the EMV Academy, a Toluca Lake, Calif.-based enterprise offering online and in-person courses on EMV conversion and compliance.

"Everybody's getting itchier," Chalmers says.

Until recent weeks, the industry "was dragging [its] feet on implementation, partly because of cost and partly because it is the unknown," he says.

To keep the momentum of the recent push, the three companies are holding a two-day workshop called "EMV – Making the Business Case," Dec. 11 and 12 in Indian Wells, Calif.

A six-person panel set to convene on the first day includes representatives from the four major card brands, an issuer and an acquirer, who will focus on business issues, Chalmers says. Jane Cloninger of Edgar Dunn & Co., will moderate.

The second day, the emphasis shifts to EMV implementation and compliance, with Mansour Karimzedah, SCIL managing director, moderating a panel expected to include a number of members who experience the Canadian EMV transition firsthand.

"The business case for EMV depends upon where you're sitting," Karimzedah says. "A lot of the costs fall on the merchants, and a lot of the benefits go to the issuers."

EMV cards cost more than magnetic-stripe cards and require new terminals, ATMs and backup systems, he notes, adding that employees need EMV training and marketing costs rise with the effort to get the word to consumers.

"In the short term it is a very difficult business case," Karimzedah says. "If you look out seven to eight years you can make a business case."

The need to make that business case was voiced at several of the sessions today at the EMV Migration Forum held by the Smart Card Alliance at the MasterCard headquarters in Purchase, N.Y., Karimzedah says.

Meanwhile, the EMV Academy is incorporating the business case for EMV into its courses online and those taught in person, Chalmers says.

Next month, the academy plans to begin offering an online course designed for merchants and independent sales organizations, Chalmers notes. Students digest the information at their own speed, but most need about two hours, he says.


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