Apart from the ambitious timeframe, the migration was not to have disruptive impact for cardholders – they would retain their existing PINs!
The merchants, too, should experience no impact on their business, with all terms and conditions – and above all their POS devices – remaining the unchanged. At a very early stage, test teams at SIX Payment Services made sure that the terminals were fully capable of accepting the new cards.
Out of security considerations, the banks opted to abandon the magnetic stripe as an alternative payment method. A magnetic stripe would still be visible on the cards and was necessary as access device for bank branches or ATM lobbies but was no longer allowed for payment transactions. This also turned out to be a relevant side effect in foreign countries.
Due to the a large share of transactions taking place across borders, very intense effort was necessary to ensure appropriate card acceptance, not only in the neighboring regions, in particular in the so-called Grande Région (adjacent areas of Belgium, France and Germany), where almost half of the workforce commute from, but also all over Europe, in all countries where the V PAY card is accepted. Extensive pilots soon proved seamless acceptance within Luxembourg. With the help of the intelligence provided by SIX Payment Services, the VISA field teams on-site were able to effectively solve problems at merchant locations outside Luxembourg.
Aiming at utmost flexibility and future-orientation, it was mandatory that additional functionalities like low value payments may be added in the future. SIX Payment Services made sure that these functionalities are now available to all banks who wish to expand their card business.
Last but not least, the complexity of the payments business was not to be underestimated: SIX Payment Services aligned the activities of parties as diverse – and geographically dispersed as the eleven issuing banks, VISA Europe, the card and personalization vendors as well as SIX headquarters in Switzerland and the SIX office in Luxembourg.