If all networks in the U.S. allow their brands to initiate a transaction using the common AID and application, merchants would get the maximum routing flexibility. Issuers, too, including debit card issuing community banks and credit unions, would enjoy maximum network portability. It is equally important that routing choice and flexibility also apply to ATM transactions in the same manner as proposed for point of sale (POS), and those conversations are underway in various EMV workgroups.
Unfortunately, there is a chance that not all the networks will participate in the common AID and application. If even one network chooses not to participate, it exponentially drives up the complexity, virtually eroding the savings the industry could gain from a common AID and application. In short, a merchant and issuer will have to support multiple chip applications, and ultimately, could see as many as four or five applications on a given debit card. It would also require significant changes to EMVCo certifications, requiring many network rules to be changed. This would create a much more costly development strategy for everyone involved.
Some have argued that a common U.S. solution may complicate international transactions for debit cardholders traveling abroad. It’s important to note that the common solution supported by the Secure Remote Payments Council (SRPc) and many networks can co-exist on the chip embedded in EMV-enabled debit cards with the card’s existing international applications. This will ensure worldwide interoperability, something critically important to issuers with frequently traveling cardholders or customers based overseas.
Further, the common solution allows networks to issue their own applications while supporting the common solution. The result? Both merchants and acquirers still have the ability to choose — something that is important not only from a regulatory standpoint, but also from a sound business strategy position.
The key to an easier, more affordable and less complex solution is within our reach. The common AID and application for EMV is possible, it is supported, and it is the best possible path for our country’s migration to the next era of payments acceptance.