MasterCard says it is open to working with its peers and rivals on the U.S. adoption of chip cards — but Visa says it is still waiting for an invitation.

MasterCard on May 21 announced formation of a cross-industry group that will collaborate on U.S. EMV card migration, open to "every industry and entity" involved in chip cards (see story).

Visa "has not been approached by MasterCard to participate in an industry group," a Visa spokesperson tells PaymentsSource. However, the No. 1 card network plans to "continue to collaborate across the payments community" to encourage U.S. EMV adoption.

San Francisco-based Visa has worked closely with issuers, acquirers, processors, merchants "and many other stakeholders" to encourage chip card adoption beginning in August 2011, the spokesperson says.

"We have also taken a leadership role in providing the industry with technical guidance," Visa says, pointing to its blog where it offers updates and news (see link).

MasterCard, for its part, suggested in its announcement that a cross-industry group would work together on providing guidance on "nonproprietary technical issues," as well as "standardizing the consumer experience."

MasterCard also said it hopes such a cross-industry group can create a set of common terms, descriptions and guidelines for EMV-enabled cards, devices and terminals. The group would also share best practices to "simplify the implementation and consumer education processes" of migrating to EMV.

Until issuers agree on whether U.S. EMV cards will require a PIN or a signature to authorize transactions, the consumer experience will be anything but standardized (see story).

At least one veteran of a Canada's recent national EMV migration agrees all the major card brands need to agree on everything from broad to small chip-card rollout details.

"It is very important for all of the major payment brands to be at the table to discuss the roadmap for EMV implementation, including American Express, Discover and the PIN-debit schemes too," Christie Christelis, president of the Toronto-based payment industry analysis firm Technology Strategies International, tells PaymentsSource.

Merchants and acquirers must also join in, "because the consequence of not being part of the discussion is that it is steered in a way that creates problems down the line, leading to delays and an uncoordinated approach — more costs for merchants, acquirers and issuers," Christelis says.

While technical aspects of EMV are well known, U.S. payments industry participants are likely to discover many "business issues and challenges" as chip cards take hold, he warns.

Subscribe Now

Authoritative analysis and perspective for every segment of the payments industry

14-Day Free Trial

Authoritative analysis and perspective for every segment of the industry