EMVCo Issues New Specs to Ease Acceptance of Contactless Payments 

contactless payments

The global standards organization overseeing the infrastructure that enables safe and seamless card-based transactions has issued new specifications it says are designed to simplify the acceptance of contactless and mobile payments globally.

According to a 300+ page update released Wednesday (Oct. 5) by EMVCo (which originally stood for Europay, Mastercard and Visa), the new specifications seek to unify existing point-of-sale (POS) terminal architecture and come in response to industry concerns.

“EMVCo stakeholders identified an opportunity to [standardize] and simplify the contactless environment with an EMV specification that over time can help reduce the number of contactless kernels that stakeholders need to support and maintain,” EMVCo Executive Committee Chair Alisa Ellis said in a press release announcing the new report, which also noted that a “kernel is software that enables payment acceptance devices (such as point-of-sale terminals and ATMs) to process transactions.”

In developing and releasing the new specs, Ellis said the new uniform technology standards were developed with the aim of creating opportunities and costs savings for merchants, solution providers and payment systems, while also improving rollout speed and time to market.

To that point, EMVCo said the new specifications can coexist with other kernels and be licensed under royalty-free conditions.

Other features of the newly published specifications include a secure channel to provide privacy and protect sensitive data, Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) for card authentication, support for biometric and mobile card verification, optimization for cloud operation and optional on-card data storage, according to the press release.

EMVCo said it will also introduce approval testing for the new specification through its accredited and audited laboratories and publish a list of approved EMV contactless kernels on its website.

“The EMV Contactless Kernel Specification is the latest example of the payments industry collaborating to deliver a specification that supports marketplace needs, and advances seamless and secure payments globally,” Ellis said.

EMVCo reported in June that the number of EMV chip cards in circulation — which are covered by another specification published by EMVCo — hit 12 billion at the end of 2021.

Read more: EMVCo: Global Circulation of EMV Chip Cards Tops 12B

That number has increased by another 1.1 billion cards over the past 12 months.

For all PYMNTS EMEA coverage, subscribe to the daily EMEA Newsletter.