Pulse Comes into Agreement with VISA for its Common Debit Solution

On 21st March 2014, Pulse (Discover Financial Services Company) announced that it had come into an agreement with VISA to enable financial institutions that issue EMV debit cards on both the Visa and PULSE networks to utilizee Visa’s common debit solution.

  • Visa’s common application identifier (AID) supports U.S. debit regulations requiring the ability to route transactions over multiple, unaffiliated networks.
  • According to Pulse, a common debit solution shared among all participants will help to accelerate EMV chip adoption in the United States and provide a uniform platform that will enable network innovation.
  • PULSE will use functionality on Visa’s common AID to facilitate all types of point-of-sale debit transactions on its network.
  • The agreement also enables PULSE to facilitate domestic ATM transactions on its network and provides for issuer choice in the routing of ATM transactions.

'Our network has been EMV-capable since October 2013, which will enable us to support transactions using the Visa common AID with minimal updates to our existing specification, said Pulse's V.P, Judith McGuire. With this agreement, merchants and acquirers can develop their systems to support the full range of debit routing options available through PULSE, including PIN, signature and PINless transactions, she added.

'It’s important for the industry to work together, especially when it comes to the adoption of EMV chip. Our common solution is an asset we are making available to the industry free of charge to provide issuers and merchants greater choice among debit networks and enable a streamlined implementation for all parties,' said Bill Sheedy, VP of Corporate Strategy and Government Relations at VISA. 'The addition of PULSE in Visa’s EMV common debit solution, which now has been adopted by 4 of the top 5 debit networks, provides a level of clarity that we hope will jump start mainstream adoption of EMV technology for debit in the U.S, he added.

This agreement addresses the uncertainty that has plagued the advancement of EMV for the U.S. debit market and signals that the industry is ready to move forward with the broad adoption of EMV technology among U.S. debit issuers and acquirers, stated Patricia Hewitt, VP and managing director of consulting services at Mercator Advisory Group.