Amex to Issue EMV Corporate Cards in First Half of 2013 (April 23, 2013)
With the switch from magnetic stripe to EMV-equipped payment cards in the U.S. on the horizon, American Express said it will begin issuing corporate cards with chip-and-signature EMV technology within the first half of this year. The new cards will offer enhanced security by using advanced encryption technology that makes it more difficult for unauthorized users to copy or access card information, according to the payment network.
All four major payment networks have committed to bringing EMV technology—already common in Europe—to the U.S. market. The first to make a definitive move toward EMV was Visa, which unveiled its “road map” for the transfer in August 2011, including a liability shift that would leave non-EMV-compliant merchants on the hook for any fraudulent charges starting on Oct. 1, 2015. Visa’s announcement created a domino effect among the other payment networks, with MasterCard laying out its plan in January 2012, while Discover and American Express followed in March and July 2012, respectively.
A recent study by Javelin Strategy & Research predicted that only about 60 percent of U.S. merchants are likely to be compliant with EMV technology by October 2015, when the majority of liability shifts for merchants and issuers are scheduled to take effect. Currently, just 10 percent of payments terminals in the U.S. are EMV-ready, and a mere 1 percent of payment cards comply with EMV standards, the report found. A major roadblock to widespread EMV adoption fell by the wayside this past March, however, when 10 debit networks agreed to license a common U.S. debit application identifier (AID) from Discover Financial Services as the foundation for routing EMV debit transactions to satisfy the Durbin Amendment’s requirement that merchants have a choice of at least two unaffiliated debit networks. Stay tuned for more on EMV in the spring issue of Pay Magazine, coming in May.