American card issuers and acquirers were “dragging their feet” until recently on the transition to the EMV chip card standard, but several 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 further advances in payments.

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 maintain the momentum of the current push toward readiness, 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 of the conference includes representatives from the four major card brands, an issuer and an acquirer.

That first-day panel is slated to explore business issues associated with the EMV transition and standards, 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 experienced the Canadian EMV transition firsthand.

“The business case for EMV depends upon where you’re sitting,” Karimzedah tells ISO&Agent Weekly. “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.

What’s more, employees need EMV training, and marketing costs rise with the effort to get the word to consumers, Karimzedah says.

“In the short term it is a very difficult business case,” he admits. “If you look out seven to eight years, you can make a business case.”

By then, the advantages come into play. They iinclude having a more-advanced infrastructure for additional changes, such as the transition to mobile payments, Karimzedah says.

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

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

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


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