U.S. Debit EMV Technical Proposal

The EMV Migration Forum (now the U.S. Payments Forum) published a definition of a technical EMV debit framework in the white paper “U.S. Debit EMV Technical Proposal” in April 2014.  Updated versions were published in April 2015 with an addendum describing a method for U.S. Common debit contactless acceptance and in July 2018 with clarifications on consumer application selection.

See notice below.

The technical framework was developed to address the fundamental challenge faced by the U.S. debit payments industry: how to implement EMV for debit cards with the flexibility to meet current compliance guidelines established by the Federal Reserve and identify some flexible procedures should rules change over time. The solution provides an approach for the debit card processing scenarios known today, so that debit industry organizations can continue on the way to chip implementation with confidence. The technical proposal was developed with the expertise, commitment and collaboration of the EMV Migration Forum’s cross-industry membership.

The white paper provides a high-level description of the technical solution, which follows the EMV specification and accommodates flexibility to current and potential future debit routing regulatory requirement scenarios, as well as principles and guidelines for implementation.

It is important to note that this framework is not the only possible technical approach for implementing EMV for debit nor is it required for debit implementation.

Stakeholders interested in adopting the proposed EMV debit solution can use the framework to build their own detailed specifications for implementation. Ultimately, adoption of the framework and specific technical solutions developed independently by individual industry stakeholders will depend on their own business decisions, considerations and circumstances. Industry stakeholders should work with their vendors and payment brand partners on implementation questions.

The technical proposal white paper includes:

  • A description of the challenges with EMV debit implementation
  • Key stakeholder expectations for the EMV debit solution
  • A proposed approach to meet current regulatory requirements and accommodate potential future requirements known today
  • The transaction flow, messaging implications, acquirer routing guidelines and POS acceptance considerations for the proposed EMV technical solution
  • An addendum that describes a method for achieving successful contactless multi-network transaction processing while preserving global interoperability using a U.S. Common Debit compliant EMV application configuration.


This document has been prepared by the EMV Migration Forum (now U.S. Payments Forum) Debit Technical Working Group. The purpose of the document is for Forum members to review and consider the viability of the proposal herein from a technical perspective, business arrangements notwithstanding. The proposal sets forth a functional description of a possible approach for a technical solution when the U.S. common debit AID is selected for online PIN, No CVM and Signature, which should not be considered the only approach. The document provides only a high-level description of the technical solution, and stakeholders interested in implementing an actual solution consistent with the proposal in their own environments will therefore need to develop their own detailed specifications. Accordingly, consideration or validation of this proposal from a technical perspective does not and cannot be construed to obligate or commit any EMV Migration Forum member or the Forum to adopt the proposal or any particular solution or approach described herein. To the best of the knowledge of the authors, this document does not contain any confidential and proprietary technology or information. The proposal described in this document is based on input from the participants in the Working Group and is intended to be consistent with publicly available and royalty free EMV specifications published on www.emvco.com. All attempts have been made to present the approach and any market details described herein from an independent and neutral point of view.

Acquirers, acquirer processors, issuers, issuer processors, merchants, and networks should review these principles and guidelines for implementation.  For implementation-specific issues or questions on this proposal, please work with vendors and brand partner stakeholders.

Please note: The information and materials available on this web page (“Information”) is provided solely for convenience and does not constitute legal or technical advice. All representations or warranties, express or implied, are expressly disclaimed, including without limitation, implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose and all warranties regarding accuracy, completeness, adequacy, results, title and non-infringement. All Information is limited to the scenarios, stakeholders and other matters specified, and should be considered in light of applicable laws, regulations, industry rules and requirements, facts, circumstances and other relevant factors. Use of or reliance on the Information is at the user’s sole risk, and users are strongly encouraged to consult with their respective payment networks, acquirers, processors, vendors and appropriately qualified technical and legal experts prior to all implementation decisions.

Please note that, on November 2, 2016, staff of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (the “Board”) released a FAQ relating to Section 235.7(b) of Federal Reserve Regulation II (promulgated by the Board pursuant to the Durbin Amendment to the Dodd-Frank Act), noting that although the FAQ is not an official Board interpretation, “[a] payment card network inhibits a merchant’s ability to route electronic debit card transactions if it, by network rules, standards, specifications, contractual agreements, or otherwise, requires the merchant to allow the cardholder to make the choice of EMV chip application on a debit card, where one application routes only to a single network.” None of the Information should be interpreted or construed to require or promote the establishment of any solution, practice, configuration, rule, requirement or specification inconsistent with applicable legal requirements, including Federal Reserve Regulation II, any of which may change over time. The U.S. Payments Forum assumes no responsibility to support, maintain or update the Information, regardless of any such change.

Share this