News Feature | June 20, 2016

Visa Aims To Streamline EMV Migration For Merchants

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

Visa Developer

Efforts include streamlined terminal testing/certification and increased funding for transitions.

The transition to EMV has meant a lot of headaches for retailers, including absorbing the cost of new hardware and software, training costs for employees, familiarization processes for customers, and the slow-down of check-out lines as a result of the new process.

In April,  MasterCard announced  that it is collaborating with payments networks, acquirers and processors to develop a standard to accelerate shopper transactions across the 1.4 million U.S. merchant locations that accept EMV chip cards. MasterCard also has called for the industry to activate current action-oriented forums like the Payments Security Taskforce and the EMV Migration Forum to align  to create and support a common approach that addresses perceptions of speed of a chip card transaction. Visa also recently released its own Quick Chip for EMV, working to streamline checkout and ensure speed and convenience of secure chip card transactions. 

Now, Visa has announced new efforts designed to aid U.S. merchant migration to EMV payment processing. Among the initiatives are a more streamlined terminal testing and certification process, financial and technical support to further accelerate EMV chip terminal deployment, and modified chargeback policies that will provide near term relief to merchants who are not yet chip-ready.

“Visa recognizes the importance of having the industry help merchants get their chip terminal solutions up and running quickly so that everyone, especially consumers, can benefit from the powerful security protection of chip technology,” asserted Oliver Jenkyn, Group Executive North America, Visa Inc. “We’ve taken steps to simplify the process as much as possible and help reduce any challenges so merchants can move forward with chip adoption quickly.”

While testing, certification and commercial rollouts of chip terminals at merchant locations can take several months, Visa is now aiming for a 50 percent reduction in the amount of the time it takes to complete this process.

About 1.2 million merchant locations in the U.S. already accept chip-based card payments, and another 23,000 are coming online each week, according to Visa. There are more than 300 million EMV chip cards now in circulation.

Part of the transition process includes testing of a new chip terminal. Since chip technology can be implemented in different ways based on the unique needs of a merchant, different merchants need to be tested in different ways. The more complex a merchant’s particular POS environment is, the greater the number of tests required is. Visa has now streamlined the testing requirements to significantly reduce the complexity, time, and cost of implementation.

Visa has also pledged to increase its investment to support both acquirers and value-added resellers (VARs) that develop the software to power chip terminals in an effort to help speed EMV transition. The funds can help VARs pre-certify their software solutions to reduce subsequent testing at acquirers by up to 80 percent.

Additionally, Visa is modifying its counterfeit chargeback policies to help merchants. The new policies limit the number of fraudulent transactions that issuers can charge back to merchants and their acquirers. As of July 22, 2016, Visa says it will block all U.S. counterfeit fraud chargebacks under $25, and as of October 2015, issuers will also be limited to charging back 10 fraudulent counterfeit transactions per account and will assume liability for all additional fraudulent transactions on the account. These blocks will remain in effect until April 2018.