MasterCard joins Visa with EMV roadmap in US

Last updated: 19 March 2014

This week the payments industry got news that many of us were hoping for: MasterCard is joining Visa in support of EMV in the United States.  In a statement issued this week, MasterCard introduced its US roadmap from magnetic stripe cards to EMV chip cards, and beyond to mobile payments and much more.

While the specifics of MasterCard’s roadmap will be announced shortly, the company did define its elements, which will include:

EMV – Solidifying EMV as the foundation of the next generation of payments

Immediate focus on acquirer infrastructure – Working with acquirers to ensure infrastructure readiness by April 2013

Encouraging greater security and cardholder verification – Providing consumers with greater control and to reduce fraudulent transactions

Providing benefits for merchant terminalization – Providing true financial benefits for merchants as they implement EMV-compatible terminals

Covering all channels – Addressing all touch points where consumers will interact with MasterCard, including ATMs, the physical point-of-sale, online and mobile commerce

Commitment to leadership and collaboration – Fostering industry collaboration to deliver the next generation of payments into the US marketplace

This support from MasterCard should be the motivation to get merchants fully on board in upgrading their systems to accept EMV chip payments.

As Mercator Advisory Group’s Julie Conroy McNelley said when Visa made its announcement, “[It will only be] effective if the other networks do the same. Merchants don’t want to spend money on technology if the benefits and requirements differ among card companies.”  It’s extremely positive, then, that MasterCard’s roadmap now joins Visa’s announcement regarding liability shifts and benefits to merchants.

Using EMV as the foundational technology, MasterCard intends for contactless and mobile to play into its roadmap, too.  Ed McLaughlin, MasterCard’s chief emerging payments officer, said, “As the industry invests in the upgrade to EMV in the US, we now have the ability to enhance the consumer experience and the security of a payment, regardless of the device – contactless card, mobile, eCommerce and technologies still to come.”

With this news, I think it’s safe to say that we’ve reached the tipping point towards finally replacing weak, insecure magnetic stripe technology with fraud-preventing and globally-compatible EMV chip technology. We will continue to watch MasterCard and report back when the complete details of its roadmap emerge.