Banking

EMVCo to simplify specifications for contactless payments

There are more than 20 different ways that technology companies enable contactless payments under current EMVCo standards, something the organization hopes to streamline through new guidance.

EMVCo, a card network-supported global payments standard consortium, has issued a draft contactless kernel specification that is available for review, with plans to release the financial specification later this year following approval by EMVCo’s board of advisors.

A kernel refers to a set of functions that allow a merchant to accept EMV-compliant transactions. The cost of maintaining multiple contactless kernels is a “growing challenge” for the payments industry, according to EMVCo. 

EMVCo’s draft specification was developed following a feasibility study on the impact of expanding mobile payments acceptance globally. It also considers new technology innovations, emerging security threats and the impact on terminal manufacturers and payment processors. 

The draft specification encompasses a secure channel to protect sensitive data, advanced technology for card authentication, and support for biometric and mobile card verification methods. The specification also covers physical and cloud implementations and on-card data storage. 

“Ultimately, this can over time help reduce the number of contactless kernels that stakeholders need to support and maintain, creating opportunities for merchants, hardware providers and payment systems to reduce costs and improve roll-out speed and time to market,” said Robin Trickel, EMVCo executive committee chair, in a press release.

EMVCo in 2021 revised its contactless payment terminal requirements to foster a similar payment experience for cards, smartphones and wearable devices. 



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