Canadian Payments Industry Commences Chip Trial in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario

    KITCHENER-WATERLOO, ON, Oct. 16 /CNW/ - Members of the Canadian payments
industry - Interac Association, MasterCard Canada Inc., Visa Canada and many
of their respective card issuers, payment processors and merchants -- today
announced the beginning of Canada's migration to chip-enabled debit and credit
cards, Automated Banking Machines (ABMs) and merchant terminals starting with
a trial in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario.
    The trial of chip-based payments is designed to assess communications to
customers and merchants and allow participants to monitor merchant and
consumer awareness and adoption before continuing with the national chip
rollout. The trial will also allow participants to ensure the interoperability
of their respective cards and devices in a secure and controlled manner.
    "There has been a tremendous amount of work completed behind the scenes,
and today marks the beginning of a payment evolution for Canadians," said
Tracey Black, Program Director for the Kitchener-Waterloo Chip Trial Project
Management Office. "The Canadian payments industry is ready to introduce chip
technology to Kitchener-Waterloo. A select number of residents will receive a
new chip debit or credit card over the coming months from their financial
institution or card issuer, and by mid-2008 we expect one in five transactions
will involve a chip debit or credit card at a chip-ready merchant terminal or
    More than 20 organizations representing debit card issuers, credit card
issuers, ABM providers, payment processors and merchants are taking part in
the trial. Card issuance, ABM upgrades and merchant terminal deployment will
increase over the coming months with sufficient volume for merchant and
consumer experience research expected by spring 2008. Consumers who receive a
chip-enabled debit or credit card during the trial will benefit from the chip
functionality in the Kitchener-Waterloo area. The cards can also be used
anywhere where credit and debit cards are accepted as the magnetic stripe will
remain on the back of chip cards and chip-ready terminals and ABMs will
continue to recognize both chip and magnetic stripe cards.
    At a chip-enabled merchant terminal or ABM the chip card is inserted and
left there for the length of the transaction. For credit transactions,
consumers using a chip credit card at a chip-enabled terminal will authorize
the transaction with a Personal Identification Number (PIN) rather than a
signature. Cardholders simply follow the prompts to complete their
transaction, similar to the process they follow with Interac debit
transactions today.
    The Kitchener-Waterloo trial is expected to continue through to October
2008 at which point the deployment of chip-enabled cards, ABMs and merchant
terminals will roll out nationally over the next several years.
    The migration to chip technology represents an evolution of the
electronic payments industry and is designed to make an already safe payments
system even more secure. Widely used in more than 100 countries around the
world, chip credit and debit cards contain an embedded computer chip that
provides increased protection against counterfeit and lost and stolen card
    A list of participating organizations can be found by visiting Additional merchants will be added in the coming months.

For further information:

For further information: Tracey Black, Program Director,
Kitchener-Waterloo Chip Trial Project Management Office, (416) 203-5252

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