What must the banks do?
What are the town trials?
Is it chip now and PIN later?
What is EMV?
What is the BRC chip card architecture?
What standards apply?

What is EMV?

Firstly EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa. These parties formed a consortium which wrote the first set of specifications for EMV chip and PIN card payment. They also formed a new company, EMVCo, who has the responsibility for maintaining these standards, defining test procedures for certification and maintaining a list of certified products. [See: www.emvco.com]

The first set of standards which was issued is termed EMV '96 version 3.1.1 and dated May 1998. These are the standards to which the UK is typically working at present. The latest standards, termed EMV 2000 version 4.0 and dated December 2000, have been issued but the associated test procedures are not fully mature. Parts of the EMV specifications relate to the card reader hardware and part to the functionality of the software. In developing the test cases and certification steps, EMVCo has segregated these two aspects terming them EMV level 1 and level 2. On their website you will see that there is a list of level 1 approved readers and level 2 software kernels.

EMV level 1 - applies to the physical and electromechanical aspects of the chip card reader. It is to ensure that any card will fit into a reader's slot and make contact, and will not be damaged in anyway. For example, there is a requirement that if the card is forcibly removed during a transaction it will not be damaged. Any chip card reader used on a live system must have EMV level 1 approval.

EMV level 2 - applies to the functionality of the software. EMVCo has devised 700 or so test cases all of which must pass for a kernel to be granted EMV level 2 approval. These ensure that the software does what it is supposed to do and, arguably more importantly, that it does not do what it is not supposed to do. Any chip and PIN terminal in live use must have EMV level 2 approval.

Europay variations

Despite agreement reached between the Europay, MasterCard and Visa on the EMV level 1 and level 2 acceptance criteria, Europay have devised some additional criteria before they will allow an EMV Level 1 and 2 certified system to be brought into live use. These acquirer certification tests are performed on the complete end-to-end system and certain banks have been authorised by Europay to issue acceptance on their behalf. The Europay acquirer certification tests repeat many of the 700 test cases of the EMVCo level 2 certification process this is seen by many as unnecessary duplication. The testing also requires the purchase of a specific set of Europay test cards which costs approximately £5,000. Europay have also introduced a Europay specific EMV parameter which must form part of the EMV configuration over and above the EMVCo requirement.

Visa specifics

Similarly, Visa have developed some procedures for PIN pad certification [see: www.visa.com]. They are currently formulating their own set of the acquirer certification tests.

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