NGA Blog: New Report Illustrates How Credit Card Companies Weaken Security and Payment Competition

December 6, 2019

By: Robert Yeakel, NGA Director of Government Relations

Today, the Secure Payments Partnership – a coalition of payment stakeholders in which NGA is a founding member of – released a report conducted by Retail Payments Global Consulting which highlights a major flaw in the card payments industry. Entitled Payment Insecurity: How Visa and MasterCard use Standard-Setting to Restrict Competition and Thwart Payment Innovation, the report focuses on EMVCo, a consortium of credit card company representatives, and how this body serves as a de facto standard setting organization throughout the card payment industry. Instead of bringing forth standards to increase card security and foster innovation, EMVCo has pushed onto retailers conditions and technologies that serve the interests of the card networks.

At a time where the United States accounts for roughly 25 percent of worldwide card transaction volume, but over 40 percent of fraud, security concerns remain a focal point for payment industry stakeholders. However, the report concludes that EMVCo placed profits for the card brands ahead of security, driving up costs to consumers and merchants alike.

Highlights of the report:

  • EMVCo serves as a de facto standard-setting body in the card payments industry, even though the organization claims to merely provide specifications and technical requirements
  • EMVCo is controlled by the card networks, its only voting members being MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Discover, JCB, and China UnionPay
  • EMVCo standards have limited payment innovation, security, and competition
  • EMVCo standards have impaired merchants’ rights to transaction routing choice

With transaction costs for credit and debit payments continuing to be one of independent grocers’ largest expenses, this research helps to shine a light on the card payments industry and will hopefully prompt much needed change. Credit and debit card usage is increasing, and independent grocers are acutely aware of fraud costs that come with more swipes.

To read the full report, click here. For a summary of the key takeaways and highlights, click here.

For more information on NGA’s payments advocacy work, please contact me at