Fiserv Inc., which operates the Accel debit network, has agreed to make MasterCard's common application identifier technology available for routing EMV debit transactions.

The payments industry has had a long and heated debate on how to best route debit payments made with EMV-chip cards, and the Fiserv/MasterCard pact is a further sign that the industry's major stakeholders are finding common ground. Just two weeks ago, First Data and Visa announced their own licensing agreement for use of Visa's common AID.

The new agreement with Fiserv allows MasterCard issuers to select and implement network relationships, while merchants and acquirers will continue to route transactions as they prefer, the companies state in a March 12 press release. The agreement also allows acquirers to brand transactions originating from the Maestro AID for all debit networks that elect to participate.

Fiserv and the Accel network are able to implement MasterCard's common AID today, Chris McWilton, president of North American markets for MasterCard, states in the release.

"This represents our continued commitment to help issuers, merchants and others continue the migration to the EMV standard here in the U.S.," McWilton says.

MasterCard was the first card brand to offer its proprietary technology to other U.S. debit networks in January of 2013 when the industry realized it was facing a dilemma over how to handle EMV debit routing under the mandates of the Durbin amendment. The industry's attempts to comply with this legislation were complicated by a federal court ruling last year that questioned the Federal Reserve Board's implementations of debit card routing and fee caps. The Durbin amendment mandates that merchants have a choice of at least two unaffiliated networks.

MasterCard says its U.S. common debit EMV solution is consistent with the EMV Migration Forum's recommendations of a single common debit application identifier and single application on each card, as well as multiple ways to verify the cardholder's identity.

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