Contactless card payment specifications

Posted on: January 31st, 2011 by level_admin No Comments

EMV has become firmly established as the global standard for processing transactions using Chip and PIN cards, and the specifications are managed by EMVCo (which is owned by Visa, MasterCard, JCB and American Express). However, with Contactless payment cards there has never been a universal standard – instead the card schemes have chosen to define their own proprietary specifications. The most common of these are the MasterCard PayPass and the Visa Contactless specifications which, whilst both being based upon EMV principles, have each been implemented and optimised in completely different manners. This means that, unlike with Chip and PIN, it is not possible to have a Contactless Kernel with a single processing path that supports all card brands.

Fortunately both PayPass and Visa Contactless do at least use the same communications protocol, which supports the use of Contactless payment cards and other NFC (Near Field Communications) enabled devices, and is based upon the ISO/IEC 14443 standard. This protocol is now managed by EMVCo as the EMV Contactless Communication Protocol Specification, and EMVCo have also published a common Entry Point specification, which provides a mechanism that allows a single Contactless kernel interface to support all these different standards.

The EMV Entry Point defines a common application selection process that can be used to detect all the contactless applications present on a card and to select which card scheme’s contactless processing path should be followed. Once the appropriate contactless application has been selected, the Entry Point is required to hand full control of the contactless transaction to the appropriate card-scheme’s specific Contactless Kernel, which will then perform all the necessary contactless card interactions and processing required by that card scheme, and then return the final transaction data and outcome to the Entry Point.

CreditCall’s Contactless Kernel supports the EMV Entry Point mechanism together with the MasterCard PayPass and Visa Contactless specifications, and is ideal for adding contactless payment support to new and existing systems.

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