Source: PR Newswire
Visa Inc. today announced that U.S. financial institutions have reported issuing an estimated one million Visa-branded, EMV chip-enabled cards as of December 31, 2011, demonstrating the significant progress the industry is making toward implementing Visa's U.S. chip roadmap.(1),(2) In August 2011, Visa announced plans to accelerate mobile innovation and the adoption of EMV contact and contactless chip technology in the U.S.
"Migrating the U.S. market to chip will help build an infrastructure for accepting NFC mobile payments, enhance international acceptance and reduce fraud," said Stephanie Ericksen, head of authentication product integration, Visa Inc. "Since announcing our roadmap last year, we have seen strong interest among U.S. issuers large and small to invest in chip technology, as today's milestone shows. The progress is all the more significant considering that just 18 months ago, there were no Visa-branded EMV contact chip cards issued in the U.S."
EMV chip technology refers to the microchip that is embedded in a credit or debit card, or even a mobile device for mobile payments. Sometimes misleadingly referred to as "chip and PIN," EMV chip is commonly deployed with a variety of cardholder verification methods including signature as well as PIN. Under Visa's approach, both methods, as well as "no signature required," will continue to be available to issuers and merchants in the U.S. according to their preferences. The critical security advancement is the EMV chip, which protects the cardholder by generating a unique code every time it is used, effectively eliminating the problem of counterfeit cards. The same chip technology also enables mobile NFC payments.
Consumer EMV chip card programs are available from financial institutions such as Chase Card Services, State Employees' Credit Union, United Nations Federal Credit Union, U.S. Bank, and Wells Fargo. The growing adoption of chip technology in the U.S. has been facilitated by Visa's flexible approach to cardholder verification, which provides choices to issuers and merchants as they deploy chip cards and terminals that support signature or PIN or a combination of the two, based on the unique needs of their customers.
"In 2011, Wells Fargo led the way with an EMV smart card pilot to 15,000 customers who travel frequently to countries where chip-based payments is the standard," said Eric Schindewolf, vice president of product development for Wells Fargo Consumer Credit Card. "Based on the overwhelming success of the pilot, we are now considering making this program more widely available."