Magazine article American Banker

Visa Debit Makes First Canada Move

Magazine article American Banker

Visa Debit Makes First Canada Move

Article excerpt

Byline: Will Hernandez

Visa Inc. has begun to build its debit portfolio in Canada, a sign of its confidence in the state of the country's payments regulatory environment.

The Canadian finance minister issued a code of conduct for the credit and debit card industry in April, which Visa agreed to before entering Canada's PIN-debit market. Had Visa and its peers failed to voluntarily adopt the code, "there was a threat that there might be regulatory intervention," said Michael Bradley, the head of products at Visa Canada.

Visa delayed any bank agreements until it was sure what the code meant for its business, Bradley said. "The regulatory environment had forced us to reconsider how to introduce the product to the marketplace."

Visa Canada announced Monday that Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce would be the first financial institution in Canada to issue Visa-branded debit cards. The Canadian Imperial Advantage Card now is available in all 1,069 of the institution's branches.

MasterCard Inc.'s Canada business said it does not have any bank-issuing announcements. MasterCard and Moneris Solutions Corp., Canada's largest debit and credit card processor based on annual transactions, have also adopted the code.

Visa's point of sale transactions will be processed as PIN-debit purchases through Interac Association, which operates Canada's sole PIN-debit network. The code required that the card companies co-brand their cards with Interac. Visa will process signature-debit purchases made online, by phone, by mail or internationally.

Visa debit cards in Canada contain chips that comply with EMV Integrated Circuit Card Specifications, complementing Visa's migration to chip technology in Canada. …

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