Security Experts:

Bank of America to Offer EMV Technology to U.S. Corporate Card Customers

Bank of America Merrill Lynch announced this week that it would be offering Chip and PIN technology (also known as EMV) in corporate cards for U.S. international travelers.

A Bank of America spokesperson told SecurityWeek that the credit cards would be offered to any its large corporate/commercial credit card customers who travel outside the U.S. on business. The program is not available for debit cards.

EMV, which stands for Europay, MasterCard, and Visa, uses an embedded microchip and a personal identification number (PIN) to validate the card, the consumer, and the payment transaction instead of a cardholder’s signature. The technology is popular in countries outside the U.S.

The Chip and PIN solution provides customers with improved security and acceptance, offering greater control over fraud since Chip point-of-sale (POS) terminals are more commonly brought directly to the customer who then enters a PIN number to complete the transaction, often not having to hand the card over.

BofA Merrill said it would begin issuing the cards in the U.S. in first quarter of 2012 and that the cards will continue to work with traditional magnetic stripe readers. 

“We designed this card to be a solution that travelers can use in any region of the world – not just a U.S. dollar card that has a chip,” said Kevin Phalen, head of Commercial Cards and Comprehensive Payables, BofA Merrill, who added that the company is working closely with Visa and MasterCard to ensure that the cards will be immediately accepted upon rollout.

So Will EMV Come to the U.S.? “The migration to EMV in the U.S. is inevitable. We can anticipate that there will continue to be a strong push to migrate to a new chip and PIN payment architecture in the United States, fueled by multi-national merchants who have seen fraud/chargeback benefits from implementations in other parts of the world,” according to Christopher Justice in a SecurityWeek column. “The migration will be neither fast nor inexpensive, requiring a hefty investment in new technology and new processes. Both merchants and consumers will need to continue to build a compelling business case for migration to chip and PIN cards in order to convince issuers and acquirers to change the payment infrastructure that is currently in place,” Justice added.

Suggested Reading: Will the U.S. be Able to Fend Off the EMV Card Standard Invasion?

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For more than 10 years, Mike Lennon has been closely monitoring the threat landscape and analyzing trends in the National Security and enterprise cybersecurity space. In his role at SecurityWeek, he oversees the editorial direction of the publication and is the Director of several leading security industry conferences around the world.