Visa Simplifies EMV Certification

Credit-card company addresses processes, chargeback concerns

FOSTER CITY, Calif. — Addressing growing concern over the prolonged EMV certification process and the chargebacks merchants have been receiving since last October’s liability shift on fraudulent purchases, Visa has simplified testing requirements and will prohibit chargebacks under $25, the credit-card company announced.

According to, the Foster City, Calif.-based company will reduce the complexity of its Europay MasterCard Visa (EMV) certification process, allowing acquirers to “self-certify,” meaning Visa will give acquirers greater discretion to determine the appropriate level of testing required to ensure a merchant’s solution is ready. The strategy is based on the idea that the acquirer is most familiar with its merchant partner’s system. This move and others may reduce testing and certification timelines by as much as 80%, said Mark Nelsen, senior vice president of risk products for Visa.

To allow the certification process to catch up with the market, Visa also announced new chargeback remedies that will run through April 2018. It said that as of July 22, 2016, chargebacks under $25 that are due to U.S. counterfeit fraud will no longer be charged back to merchants. Visa will block those chargebacks and, as of Oct. 2016, it will also limit issuers to charging back 10 fraudulent counterfeit transactions per account. After that point, the issuer assumes liability. Visa estimates these two changes will cut chargeback transactions to merchants by 40% and chargeback dollars by 15%.

“This is pretty big news for our space,” said a source whose company focuses on c-store automation. He spoke to CSP Daily News under condition of anonymity but said the moves raise a question about steps Visa may or may not take on the October 2017 liability shift date for in-pump point-of-sale.

Elaborating on its certification process, Nelson said Visa will focus on certifying the online function within the chip cards. The chips also have offline-authorization capabilities that are not needed for U.S. terminals. “If we focused on these online-only terminals, which provide the merchants with all of the fraud protection that they need, it provides all the security protection that the issuers need. If we just focused on these streamlined, simplified terminals, then that alone would accelerate the testing and the certification process,” Nelsen said.

When asked why this move wasn’t done from the start, Nelson said the payment ecosystem was complex and getting alignment through the process was difficult. He suggested the idea may be gaining traction.

“Visa has always, for the last four years, been trying to promote the online-only terminal and configuration,” Nelson told the online publication. “We haven’t had 100% alignment across what should be implemented in the marketplace.”

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