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    Smart Card Alliance Forms Cross-Industry EMV Coalition

    Forum supports collaborative, timely and effective transition to EMV payments.

    PRINCETON JUNCTION, N.J. -- The Smart Card Alliance today announced the formation of the EMV Migration Forum, an independent, cross-industry organization to help join the payments ecosystem together as the United States moves to a new way to pay with EMV chip cards. The Forum will support the alignment of the EMV implementation steps required for global payment networks, regional payment networks, issuers, processors, merchants, and consumers to successfully move from magnetic stripe technology to secure EMV contact and contactless technology in the United States.

    EMV chip technology is used globally in place of magnetic stripe cards, and drastically reduces card fraud resulting from counterfeit, lost and stolen cards; provides global interoperability; and enables safer and smarter transactions across cards, contactless, mobile, and remote payment channels, stated the Alliance.

    American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa all plan to move to an EMV-based payments infrastructure in the U.S., with payment processor mandates in place for 2013, and major changes for managing fraud risk set for 2015, according to the announcement.

    "We have seen in other markets around the world that cooperation and alignment of all participants' activities are necessary to ensure that the migration to EMV-enabled cards, devices, and terminals is efficient, timely, and effective," said Randy Vanderhoof, executive director of the Smart Card Alliance. "Industry stakeholders have called for a neutral forum to play this role for the U.S. market. By creating an organization that brings together all of the payments stakeholders who have a direct role in the EMV migration in the U.S., without regard to their past or present involvement with smart cards or other chip technologies, the EMV Migration Forum will be able to focus on the needed coordination and cooperation across the payments landscape." Although it is part of the Smart Card Alliance corporate organization, the EMV Migration Forum will have a separate membership and be open to representatives from financial card issuers, payments processors, merchants, acquirers, payment networks, industry suppliers and other constituent groups including payments industry associations to ensure that all stakeholders in the payment industry are represented.

    The Forum will reportedly address topics that require some level of industry cooperation and/or coordination to migrate successfully to EMV technology in the U.S. Topics and activities within its scope include:

    • Providing guidance on technical issues, consumer awareness and other non-proprietary issues relating to industry-wide adoption of EMV;
    • Developing best practices and educational material necessary for successful adoption of EMV-enabled cards, devices, and terminals within the U.S. market;
    • Discussing the coordination of process-related elements of the payments infrastructure necessary to introduce an EMV-enabled payment system;
    • Discussing and engaging in projects to facilitate consumer adoption and allow for a more consistent consumer experience; and
    • Reporting on EMV adoption as it progresses.

    "The Alliance is taking this step to create the EMV Migration Forum to leverage the strong collaborative environment around chip-enabled payments we've built within our membership and extend that environment to the broader issuers, merchants and consumer market. Our current members have been very supportive and eager to establish an EMV-focused organization to assist the payments industry with this all-important migration," said Smart Card Alliance Board Chair Willy Dommen, Accenture.

    Julie Conroy McNelley, research director for Aite Group's retail banking practice, added, "The cross-industry collaboration that this initiative represents will be welcome for all stakeholders in the value chain. Merchants and issuers have been looking for unified direction and guidance, and this announcement promises to meet that need."

    The Smart Card Alliance has scheduled its first meeting for September 12-13, 2012, at MasterCard Worldwide headquarters in Purchase, New York, to launch the formation of the EMV Migration Forum. During the initial meeting, participants will learn about member benefits and member participation in Forum governance, discuss the priorities for organization activities and launch its first working committee projects.

    "EMV's arrival in the U.S. has profound implications for issuers, merchants and the entire payments industry. While the global EMV experience will help, the devil is in the implementation details and common U.S. approaches will be needed for a smooth EMV transition," said George Peabody, Mercator Advisory Group's director of emerging technologies. "The EMV Migration Forum can speed deployment as well as improve the return on the considerable EMV investment in the U.S. because the technology has the potential to do far more than prevent counterfeit card fraud."

    Additional information about the EMV Migration Forum organization and membership, including a Frequently Asked Questions document, is available here.

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