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Review Card Vendor Contracts Before EMV Deadline

By Kelly Flynn, National Director

As financial institutions and consumers continue to deal with the effects of onerous security breaches that have hit major retail, restaurant and hospitality businesses in the last year or so, the push for integrating EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) cards into the marketplace has gained momentum. However, according to payment industry estimates only a fraction of credit and debit cards in the United States are enabled with the more secure computer chip technology that provides superior card fraud protection than the magnetic-strip cards that are used by the majority of consumers. 

That is likely to change beginning October 15, 2015, when new credit and debit card standards will go into effect that will change fraud liability expectations for card issuers and retail businesses. And while the new compliance standards won’t be mandatory, liability for fraudulent transactions will be borne by the card issuer or retail business that has not upgraded its cards to include the “chip and pin” technology. 

According to the Payments Security Task Force, the transition to the new EMV technology is expected to accelerate with more than 575 million chip-enabled cards anticipated to be in the hands of U.S. consumers by the end of 2015.

Card brand contract agreement review can lead to savings and better terms

For banks and credit unions considering the cost involved to migrate from their current magnetic strip cards to the new EMV technology, savings and increased revenue opportunities can be achieved from a review of their debit card brand agreement. 

Typically, most financial institutions remain with their original debit/credit card provider due to the costs involved in re-issuing new cards from a different vendor. However, with the upcoming integration to EMV technology, a review of the card brand contract agreement can give your financial institution the opportunity to get better contract terms, including: 

  • lower fees including discounts, signing bonuses and other incentives; 
  • reduced processing costs; 
  • higher interchange revenue; 
  • better service; and 
  • increased net revenue over the term of the contract. 
Based on how many cards your institution issues, your card sales volume and the number of transactions per card, a professional contract review can present a scenario on what improvements you can expect from either re-negotiating with your current card brand vendor or submitting an RFP to a competing credit or debit card brand. 

A delay in addressing the issue can result in lost savings and revenue

While some industry estimates don’t expect a majority of institutions to have the EMV-equipped credit and debit cards in place by the October 2015 deadline, failure to do so can result in increased liability and inconvenience for account holders should unexpected security breaches occur. A card brand contract review can help to ensure that your institution is getting the products and services you need to provide your account holders with the best possible services, as well as security peace of mind. 

From a bottom line perspective, financial institutions that don’t take advantage of this opportunity to review and re-negotiate their credit and debit card brand contract relationships will leave potential savings and increased revenue on the table at a time when earnings are extremely important to overall stability.



About JMFA

JMFA is a leading provider of profitability and performance-improvement consulting. For more than 35 years, JMFA has been recognized as one of the most trusted names in the industry, helping financial institutions reach their goals. JMFA is recognized for earnings enhancement and expense control programs, executive placement, as well as product, service, pricing and technology-improvement consulting. Simply stated, JMFA’s programs and services are designed to increase income or reduce expenses. JMFA is proud to be a preferred provider for performance-enhancement consulting services among many industry groups.

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