Visa Offers ‘Common’ EMV Debit Solution 

Feb. 4, 2013

Visa today announced its support of a common U.S. debit solution currently under debate, but the fate of the so-called common AID , a debit-industry initiative that would enable merchants to route EMV debit transactions to their choice of networks in compliance with the provisions of the Durbin Amendment, remains unclear. Visa’s Monday announcement seems to be a step in the right direction, but the details of the card network’s support of the common AID’s technical specifications still are unknown, according to Paul Tomasofsky, president of the Secure Remote Payment Council, one of the organizations leading the way to establish the common AID.

“It’s definitely a step beyond where we were before,” Tomasofsky said. “But the details really are unknown.”

According to the Visa statement released this morning, the company will offer some of its EMV chip technology free to other networks in conjunction with a generic, unbranded AID. How that impacts the parameters established by the debit industry so far in the common AID discussions is unclear. Visa said its solution would provide EMV transactions the same network routing environment enjoyed today by transactions made with magnetic stripe cards.

“Merchants can continue to route debit transactions to their network of choice, just as they can with magnetic stripe transactions today,” the company said in its statement. “Issuers will continue to have the flexibility to change debit networks without having to re-issue cards. In addition, this approach will enable debit networks that do not have their own EMV chip solutions to support debit chip card transactions quickly and benefit from Visa’s tried and tested technology.”

MasterCard also has offered its technology to help solve the EMV network routing issue, but the other debit networks are uncomfortable with an approach that would route every debit transaction through MasterCard’s system. Industry observers await more details from Visa to see if their solution more closely resembles the common AID or MasterCard’s offer.