EMVCo Finally Addresses Merchant Slowdown Concerns
In light of huge merchant problems accepting EMV—something that card brand stats show 66-70 percent of merchants still can’t do—EMVCo, the organization that manages the specifications for the anti-fraud chip card technology, said on Aug. 17 that it will, for the first time, provide “formal certification for contactless mobile payment devices.” The process is meant to ensure that “contactless mobile payment-enabled devices can operate seamlessly with EMV Level 1 approved payment acceptance terminals,” the organization said.
Merchant complaints have centered on slow efforts to approve payment devices as EMV-ready
This new testing and approval process includes:
- Digital and analogue testing for the electrical, mechanical and communication protocol characteristics of the mobile device as defined within the EMV Contactless Communication Protocol Specification—Book D, version 2.5.
- Interoperability testing to validate the successful interaction between the mobile payment device and a range of EMVCo approved payment acceptance terminals.
- Performance testing of the mobile payment device to ensure optimal transaction times. This test is currently available for universal integrated circuit cards only, with embedded secure element and host card emulation testing to follow.
“EMVCo recognizes that the use of mobile devices to make contactless payments is growing in popularity,” said Jonathan Main, chairman of the EMVCo board of managers. “It is important that the payments industry supports manufacturers’ product development cycles, while ensuring that the correct testing is undertaken to confirm that a product will be interoperable with the established payment infrastructure. The centralized testing framework from EMVCo will significantly streamline the existing process to optimize product time to market.”
The new testing regime comes amid an accelerating rollout of EMV debit—during which the actual use of chip cards at chip-enabled POS terminals has been held back by the “slower-than-anticipated” pace of merchant EMV adoption, according to the 2016 Debit Issuer Study from Discover Financial Service’s PULSE network, released earlier this month. Just 4 percent of all debit card transactions with a chip card happening at a chip-enabled terminal, according to the study.
U.S. lawmakers have taken note on EMV certification delays. In May, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, in a letter to Federal Trade Commission Chair Edith Ramirez, said consumers “are forced to continue using fraud-prone magnetic stripe technology” because chip-reading payment terminals remain idle. Durbin’s EMV letter followed one in March to EMV standards umbrella group EMVCo. that asked it to explain the snags in the U.S. EMV transition.