The credit card industry in the U.S. is moving from the signature-based system to an EMV “chip-and-pin” system, bringing it in line with the rest of the world. FIME, a payments consultancy firm, has created a U.S. EMV VAR Qualification Program, a chip education and accreditation program for Independent Software Developers (ISVs) and Value Added Resellers (VARs) to make the transition easier.
"This program is a significant step in the right direction to streamline testing and certification processes as the U.S. migrates to EMV chip technology, and FIME is pleased to be a part of it," said Xavier Giandominici, director of FIME America. "VARs and ISVs that take advantage of this program will be better equipped to help merchants in their implementations of chip technology, and this preparation will accelerate the implementation of chip in the U.S."
The components of the plan include an educational program to show developers how to implement the EMV system in the existing U.S. payment system, a list of accredited payment service providers, as well as a pre-qualification process run by these service providers to jump-start the implementation and testing process.
All of the major credit vendors: Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express (News - Alert) have announced plans to transition from the older signature based system to EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa), also known as “chip-and-PIN,” used in Europe. The system, as the name suggests, has a small chip that’s authenticated with a PIN.
This system is theoretically more secure than the signature system currently in use, as it’s more difficult to forge a PIN than it is to forge a signature.
Credit card companies are planning to implement most of the transition this year, with liability for fraudulent charges shifting to merchants starting in October to spur merchants to upgrade. It will still take some time, as there will still be many cards using the older system until they expire.
While shoppers might have noticed that stores have installed new POS systems and PIN pads in preparation for the switchover, a lot of systems are still set up to use the older method. FIME’s system is intended to make it easier for vendors who haven’t done so already to upgrade their systems.
Edited by Dominick Sorrentino
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