The PCI Security Standards Council has announced that it will join with the Payments Security Taskforce and EMV Migration Forum to launch the U.S. EMV VAR Qualification Program, a chip education curriculum and accreditation initiative that will help merchants and their partners securely implement chip card solutions.

The U.S. EMV VAR Qualification Program aims to streamline and simplify the testing and certification process for Value Added Resellers (VARs) and Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) to help them help securely implement chip card solutions for their merchant customers in advance of the 2015 liability milestone.

The optional program consists of three central elements:

  1. An educational curriculum from the EMV Migration Forum that provides a clear understanding of chip technology for payment cards in the U.S. market
  2. A listing on the PCI Security Standards Council website of all service providers independently accredited by the major payment networks to provide chip recommendations and implementation
  3. A pre-qualification process run by the accredited service providers to help VARs and ISVs begin the implementation process before they work with acquirers for final certification

We heard from the acquirer community that there was a limitation on the time and resources available to help the VAR community best prepare for the broad adoption of chip,” said PCI SSC Chairperson Bruce Rutherford. “This coordinated effort across all industry players will help eliminate the bottleneck and speed the certification of smaller merchants’ chip card acceptance efforts.

Added PCI SSC General Manager Stephen W. Orfei, “We’re pleased to partner with the Payment Security Taskforce and the EMV Migration Forum in this important initiative to drive adoption of EMV chip technology in the U.S., a critical security layer that when combined with PCI Standards as a layered approach will help organizations better protect their customers’ valuable payment card data

The coordinated effort will begin with the launch of educational resources for the VAR and ISV communities to establish an understanding of chip technology, including targeted webinars and self-service web portals on how to build a business case for chip, an overview of a chip card transaction and how to navigate the testing and certification process.

Each VAR will then have the ability to pre-qualify its payment solution for each of the major payment networks with an accredited service provider based on its knowledge of chip technology, and work with its acquirer to receive a final certification of the solutions a merchant would need to use to process a chip card transaction.

Details of the education programme can be found here.

Details of the pre-qualification process can be found here.

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