Senator Durbin Probes FTC on EMV Certification

The Illinois senator is asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the EMV certification process and whether backlogs are preventing retailers from accepting chip card transactions.

May 16, 2016

NEW YORK – reports that U.S. Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) last week to find out whether backlogs in the EMV certification process are keeping retailers from being able to accept chip card transactions.

The news source notes that according to Durbin, many small and midsize businesses have already invested in EMV-capable payment terminals, but lengthy delays in getting hardware and software certified are preventing them from accepting chip cards at the point of sale.

“The EMV certification process is opaque and confusing,” Durbin wrote, adding, “So far only a fraction of merchants who have sought certifications have been able to obtain them, and the merchants who have been stuck in the certification queue are at increased risk of being victimized by fraud.”

Durbin asked the FTC to look into the EMV certification process within 30 days of his correspondence and provide answers to a series of questions about EMV delays.

In March, Durbin sent letter to the EMVCo, owned by American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa, JCB and UnionPay, asking whether the deployment of EMV in the United States is adequately preserving competition and protecting consumers. Specifically, he asked for clarification on what percentage of EMV cards both worldwide and in the United States are enabled for PIN authentication on every transaction.

Last week Walmart Stores Inc. filed suit against Visa, saying the card company wants the retailer to use a less-secure method for verifying debit cards—as in chip and signature instead of the more secure chip and PIN method—to route transactions through its own networks to boost profits.

NACS is educating Congress that PIN technology is a proven security solution—for both credit and debit transactions—available today. All EMV point-of-sale readers are PIN-enabled with encrypted security, and when PIN is required, whether a card number or the card itself is stolen, a PIN protects consumers against fraud. Policymakers in Washington have held several hearings examining the transition to EMV and the impact on small businesses, and NACS continues to educate legislators that chip-and-signature is not effective at protecting consumers without the additional security layer of PIN authentication.

The upgrade to EMV is a massive, estimated-$4 billion investment for the convenience and fuel retailing industry. Without the use of PIN, the investment in EMV technology falls short of providing customers with security against fraud. Learn more at