Discover's Pulse network and MasterCard have agreed to allow card-issuing banks using both networks to use MasterCard's technology to route EMV debit card transactions.

The licensing agreement allows Pulse use of the common application identifier, or common AID, to allow merchants a choice of routing options for EMV smart cards. Federal law requires issuers to provide a choice of at least two unaffiliated networks.

Pulse completed a similar deal with Visa in late March.

These and other recent agreements between the card brands and debit networks signaled an end to nearly two years of debate over how to route EMV debit payments.

At the height of debate, the debit networks favored Discover's technology to route transactions, but MasterCard and Visa ultimately agreed to share their technology.

Issuers will now be able to use one application with two application identifiers on EMV debit cards. One identifier is for the Visa or MasterCard transactions, and the other is the common AID for the various independent networks.

“This is another important step in moving the industry to EMV adoption,” Carolyn Balfany, MasterCard's group head for U.S. product delivery, states in a May 13 press release. “Working together with Pulse, we are providing secure payment solutions for debit programs that deliver maximum value to merchants, consumers and issuers.”

Through the common AID arrangements, merchants and acquirers can develop systems to support debit routing options for PIN and signature transactions.

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