August 27, 2014 [molongui_author_box]

Challenges of EMV Certification Process

Key Takeaways:

What is EMV Certification?

EMV is a worldwide card transaction authentication standard every merchant services industry player must be at least familiar with. The issue of EMV certification is of special importance to payment gateways and owners of proprietary payment ecosystems. Small-size merchants who want to process EMV transactions can just purchase the necessary hardware and software from some third-party entities (providers), so they do not need to conduct the deep analysis of the EMV certification process.The relevance of EMV certification is caused by the fact that all European countries already support EMV and some exclusively use EMV for card-present transactions. The adoption of EMV is also actively promoted in the US by Visa and MasterCard.

What are EMV Standards For?

EMV abbreviation, actually, stands for Europay, Mastercard, and Visa.

EMV standard is based on near-field communication (NFC) technology. EMV cards with built-in chips offer superior protection against credit card fraud compared to swiped cards. An EMV chip not only contains data that is scanned during a payment transaction. It is also capable of exchanging commands with a payment terminal, recording, and storing new data. At the same time, EMV certification process becomes even more relevant with the advance of SoftPOS solutions, also based on NFC technology. So, both coventional terminal and SoftPOS payment solution need to be EMV certified to protect sensitive cardholder data, ensure payment security, and prevent fraud.

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How do I Get EMV Certified?

An entity going through EMV certification process needs to address 3 key aspects:

The EMV certification process consists of two stages: payment processing host integration and EMV certification. Host integration aims to ensure message format consistency between the merchant, the payment gateway, and the acquirer. It is separate from the certification process and does not incur certification-related costs.

EMV certification itself involves usage of the EMV toolkit and required hardware devices.

Certification Steps

Before actual certification stage the business needs to compile a list of countries it is going to process EMV transactions in, a list of acquirers it is going to partner with, and a list of devices to be certified by the acquirers. The business should also check with the acquirers what EMV toolkits they support, and develop (or license) terminal applications for the terminals it is using.

As previously mentioned, an EMV toolkit plays a vital role in the certification process. It comprises hardware and software designed for conducting a series of specialized certification tests. Each test typically emulates transactions of a specific type. Test results are submitted to EMV certification authority (possibly, a certification specialist, assigned by the acquirer). Examples of EMV toolkits include UL toolkit family, B2, ICC, and others.

Each new device (for example, a payment terminal of some brand) needs to be separately EMV certified. Moreover, each terminal (or SoftPOS) requires special software (terminal application or SoftPOS app, respectively). Only terminals and card readers with kernels that passed EMV l1 certification and EMV l2 certification, can be used.

Integration process will also, most probably, require at least some development efforts from your team.

Payment Gateway Project Seems Complex?

How Much does it Cost to Get EMV Certified?

It is advisable for businesses considering the prospect of EMV certification to plan respective budgets in advance. For example, administrative fees paid to an acquirer amount to approximately $2000 or more, while an EMV toolkit license may cost around $20,000.

If you are seriously considering the prospect of implementing an optimal EMV terminal solution for your business, you are welcome to watch a short informative video and download our free white paper on the subject.

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