Ten of the leading debit card networks, including The SHAZAM Network operated by Johnston-based Shazam Inc., announced today that they have formed a new company, Debit Network Alliance, in preparation for the U.S. launch of debit cards using EMV or "chip card" technology.


The goal of the alliance is to facilitate the adoption of an interoperable standard for EMV debit payments in the United States "through a common governance structure that fosters regulatory compliance, equal access and ability to innovate for all debit networks, routing choice for merchants, and portability for issuers," the alliance members said in a release.


EMV, which is named for its original developers, Europay, MasterCard and Visa, is a technology in which a microchip is embedded into the card as a means to enhance security and prevent fraud. The United States has lagged the rest of the world in adopting the technology; more than 1 billion such cards are in use globally.   

"We believe that debit chip solutions in the U.S. must be governed by all U.S. debit networks, in a manner that benefits industry stakeholders and supports the levels of flexibility and innovation necessary to maintain a healthy and robust U.S. payment system," Paul Tomasofsky, executive director of Debit Network Alliance, said in a press release.


The founding networks of Debit Network Alliance include AFFN, ATH, CO-OP Financial Services, NETS, NYCE, Presto!, PULSE, SHAZAM and STAR. The networks have worked together on chip standards since April 2012.


"The formation of DNA represents a significant investment by the country's leading debit networks," said Terry Dooley, senior vice president and chief information officer for The SHAZAM Network. "My colleagues and I are ready to put in the work to ensure the country's eventual implementation of EMV provides issuer choice, merchant choice, a competitive environment and the ability to continue a long history of innovative product development for the payments industry."