ARLINGTON, VA – January 20, 2012 – On behalf of the nation’s retail and wholesale grocers, the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) supports efforts by the Merchant Advisory Group (MAG) to bring together all stakeholders in the payments chain to create a single, safe and secure payments standard to the benefit of U.S. businesses and cardholders.

MAG’s payments roadmap makes strong recommendations to mitigate fraud against U.S. electronic payments. The recommendation pools constructive input from all stakeholders in order to create a system that is safe and secure for cardholders as well as fair and transparent for businesses and consumers. Faced with challenges ahead for the U.S. as the country migrates to Chip card technology, the roadmap clearly identifies areas for collaboration.

Liz Garner, director of government relations for FMI commented on the recommendation from MAG, saying, “With recent announcements by the card networks, and more anticipated this spring, it is evident that Chip cards are coming to the United States. Any investment in Chip card technology that doesn’t require issuers to enable a PIN option on their cards would be of great concern to our industry.”

The grocery industry accounts for 39 percent of PIN debit volume in the United States, according to Pulse research. Food retailers have consistently argued that the PIN number is crucial to validating a customer’s identity in the check-out lane.

“The grocery industry is an extremely important stakeholder in the retail payments chain, and it is imperative we have a seat at the table, along with other merchants, when the U.S. standards and timelines for Chip cards are being developed,” Garner said. “Since a grocery store may have five or 10 or 20 different checkout lanes to serve its customers, when the payments rules and infrastructure in this country change, it can become a significant investment for businesses of all sizes.”

In support of the new MAG roadmap, Garner said, “The payment standards and processes in the U.S. must lead us to a reasonable, safe, and secure platform.”

For more information on the payments roadmap, visit the Merchant Advisory Group website.