The EMV certification process is not a particularly easy one, and it only gets more difficult as the liability shift deadline approaches. For merchants which may have waited to get started, the solution may lie in a semi-integrated solution like the one that TSYS has recently launched. MPD CEO Karen Webster recently spoke with Bill Lodes, Director of Developer Partnerships at TSYS, about how a semi-integrated EMV solution can get the job done in less time than a full certification process.
KW: The occasion for our conversation is the launch of something new that TSYS has just introduced. It is described as a “semi-integrated EMV solution which takes some of the pain out of EMV certification.”
A couple of questions: What does it mean to be a “semi-integrated EMV solution,” and how does it take the pain out of the process?
BL: We’re really excited about the semi-integrated solution through PAX. What it allows is a partner of ours – be it a developer or an ISV – will do a certification to a PAX device to accept EMV transactions within their POS software. It is a very scaled-down solution as a certification process.
There are really two ways to go about certifying through EMV with TSYS today: a full certification, and now this semi-integrated solution. The full certification can take several months to complete; the PAX semi-integrated takes that overall timeframe down from months to weeks.
KW: How do you do that?
BL: The time is shortened because the developer is not taking the certification and opening their complete software application. In the full certification, what the developer will do is open the hood, if you will, to their POS software, and go through the full certification with each card brand – and that’s several hundred test cases for all of the different types of transactions.
The semi-integrated solution is vastly different in that a lot of the certification work with the card associations has already been completed through PAX. PAX’s solution has already been in the marketplace throughout the world for years; with this semi-integrated solution, you’re now taking a lot of the onus from that developer and condensing it from a several-month process into a several-week process in a very limited certification compared to the extensive full certification.
KW: Is that really the crux of the issue with respect to why the migration is so difficult?
BL: Yes, there’s a very extensive certification process. The card brands handed down the different test cases and the transactional test cases that each one of these developers has to go through. And going through that full search is extremely labor-intensive because they are really working with the inner programming of those POS solutions.
Here, on the other hand, they are taking a PAX device and certifying their solution to it, so there’s not that extensive work that has to be done across a large timeframe.
KW: All of that takes time, as you pointed out – and where there’s time, there’s money. With this new approach, do you have a sense of what the cost savings might be from using the PAX solutions semi-integrated approach?
BL: In a full certification, there are third-party tools that we have to purchase to interact with the card brands. Once those tools are purchased, then there are individual costs associated with sending over the different test cases to each card brand. Each card brand charges different rates – project management fees, what have you – to developers. Some of us in the marketplace have chosen to assume some of those costs, but there are costs associated with the process that have to be handed down to the developer.
In the semi-integrated model, those individual costs are lower than they are in the full certification because, again, PAX and the solution that they have presented to us in the device have taken care of a lot of that work in advance. The developer doesn’t have to go through that full certification, all the testing, and be charged a lot of those individual fees.
KW: I can imagine that this comes as good news to those who haven’t yet started the process of the EMV liability shift and realize that it’s roughly four months away and even if they started now, they may miss the window.
Do you have a sense of what percentage of your client base is already well on its way to becoming compliant, and what percentage might actually benefit from this particular solution in making the deadline?
BL: This solution, as you touched upon, is really ideal for the folks who have waited. We have all been struggling in the marketplace to educate folks out there and to encourage them to get in and get these certifications completed. There are several thousand still out there that have chosen not to come to the table and not to get into any of our competitors’ EMV queues and get certified.
This solution, we feel, is an advantage for those folks that did wait and still want to get done before October. They can now go through the certification process on this device – which will only take a couple of weeks, as we’ve seen so far – and still be able to get all of the equipment out to merchants.
As for how many in our portfolio are we going to have up and running by Oct. 1, that’s a question that is not easily answered because our portfolio encompasses many different types of businesses. At TSYS, we not only have ISVs and mom-and-pop SBS merchants, but we also have major banks and acquirers.
So there’s a large percentage of our portfolio in which we are not able to reach out to the end user. Instead, we rely on some of our partners to get the equipment out and get the education out. But we are here, stacked and ready, for when they are ready to complete that certification process.
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