The creation of the EMV Migration Forum, a cross-industry coalition dedicated to support the movement to EMV chip-based cards, was announced today by the Smart Card Alliance, a non-profit association focused on card technology. The new forum will work to help payments networks, card issuers, payments processors, merchants and consumers to convert to more secure EMV cards that are widespread internationally, but have yet to gain traction in the U.S.
The EMV Migration Forum will provide guidance on technical issues and consumer awareness relating to EMV technology, develop and distribute best practices for EMV adoption and facilitate coordination in updating payments processes and infrastructure for EMV.
Although the forum will remain part of the Smart Card Alliance organization, it will have its own separate membership made up of card issuers, processors, merchants, acquirers, payment networks and other constituent groups such as payments industry associations, according to the alliance.
"By creating an organization that brings together all of the payments stakeholders who have a direct role in the EMV migration in the U.S., without regard to their past or present involvement with smart cars or other chip technologies, the EMV Migration Forum will be able to focus on the needed coordination and cooperation across the payments landscape," said Randy Vanderhoof, the Smart Card Alliance's executive director, in a statement.
The magnetic stripe cards that are widely used in the United States are considered less secure than EMV cards. EMV technology reduces card fraud from counterfeit, lost and stolen cards, the Smart Chip Alliance said, and provides safer transactions across payment types. But while EMV technology is prevailing in other countries, some payments stakeholders were previously reluctant to make the costly infrastructure changes necessary to enable EMV cards in the U.S. But the major credit card brands have all issued deadlines to move towards EMV adoption in the next few years, so processors and merchants will have to make the switch too.
"Merchants and issuers have been looking for unified direction and guidance [for EMV adoption], and this announcement promises to meet that need," Julie Conroy McNelley, research director for retail banking at the Aite Group, a financial services industry consultant firm.
The EMV Migration Forum will hold its first meeting Sept. 12-13 at MasterCard's headquarters in Purchase, NY to educate participants about the organization's priorities.