Background to EMV
Credit and debit cards are migrating globally from magnetic stripe technology to integrated circuit chips, or smart cards as they are more commonly known as. These offer enhanced security protection and tackle the problems of card fraud and skimming, which had become a major issue in many parts of the world including the UK. Detailed specifications for card issuance and card acceptance have been established by EMVCo which was created by the international payment networks including MasterCard and Visa. Their intention was to stop rapidly escalating fraud losses but also to maintain global interoperability, allowing any card to be used in any card reader, anywhere in the world.
EMV migration has been making solid progress over the years both for card issuance and acceptance. To date over 1.62 billion EMV payment cards have been issued and 23.8 million POS terminals have been installed. This represents almost half of the payment cards and 75% of acceptance terminals. The UK Chip and PIN rollout, which started in 1998, was one of the first major migrations and this was successful in stopping losses. Western Europe has the highest adoption rates with 80% of cards and 95% of terminals now EMV compliant.
US adopts EMV
One major country, the United States, for many years declined to embrace EMV technology. However in 2012 the US market announced that it would migrate to EMV and therefore we will soon have a truly global EMV marketplace. The various US stakeholders are now ramping up their plans in order to become compliant by the deadlines. As the US is such a large card payments market this is significant news. It will take time, lots of investment, resources and hard work. Access to field proven EMV solutions and expertise will help shorten the timescales and reduce business risk.
Discover and Union Pay join EMVCo
In May 2013, UnionPay and then in September Discover, joined EMVCo. This reinforces the global adoption of the EMV standard ensuring its long term significance. They now sit alongside the founding members MasterCard and Visa, plus American Express and JCB, as full and equal equity owners of this controlling organisation and standards body.
Contactless payments under EMV control
Initially each International payment network developed its own contactless payments specifications. This slowed down adoption, resulted in interoperability issues and created complex certification processes. The good news is that EMVCo now has responsibility for the contactless standards with version 2.3 representing the latest issue of the specifications.
To support the introduction of NFC payment transactions at the POS there has been an alignment of specifications from the NFC Forum and EMVCo. Various parameters and functional behaviours have been updated and these can be found in the EMV 2.3 contactless specification. This work reflects the ongoing collaboration between the two organisations.
Low voltage cards
By the end of 2013 all EMV cards must operate at both 5 and 3 volts. Any early cards that only work at 5 volts need to be removed from circulation by the 31st December. The reason why this is happening is to allow EMV card usage at battery powered devices.
STS has been at the forefront of EMV adoption right from day 1. It has developed innovative EMV solutions which are used all around the world. STS is recognised as being true EMV experts. There are over 150,000 locations where Emvelink software is processing EMV card payments and currently we are actively engaged with key players in the US market. We have more EMV Pin pad certifications than any other vendor and have established close relationships with individual members of EMVCo and the test laboratories. Our EMV journey continued with Touchlink our contactless solution which has been selected by leading retailers including the world’s leading quick service food retailer. We are here ready to help partners and merchants with their EMV plans.