Migrating to EMV – Components Needed to Make Up an EMV Terminal

Posted on: December 14th, 2011 by level_admin No Comments

For those looking to develop/migrate to EMV solutions, here’s an overview of the components that make up an EMV terminal. Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions.

EMV System Components

A typical “EMV terminal” (which can be any EMV-capable device, including self-service kiosks, ATMs and retail PoS [points-of-sale]) consists of a number of software and hardware components that interact in order to process an EMV card transaction.

EMV Approved Hardware

An EMVCo level 1 approved Interface Device (IFD) is required to communicate with the chip card and, depending on the operating environment of the terminal, the IFD may be an integrated part of the terminal’s hardware or an external device. The IFD will contain a card reader and may also include a PIN-pad that can be used for secure PIN entry, if that Cardholder Verification Method (CVM) is supported by the terminal. Alternatively, if a PIN-pad is required then this may be a separate piece of hardware attached to the terminal. Note that PIN-pads used for EMV PIN Entry will also need to be compliant with the PCI standards.

Authorisation and Clearing

The terminal will also need to have a mechanism for submitting approved transactions to the acquiring bank so that the payments can be cleared. If the terminal is fitted with communications equipment then this can be used to send the transactions to the bank, and it may also be used for online authorisation of transactions to allow the card issuer to check whether to allow a particular transaction to be accepted. If there is no communications available, or the terminal supports the ability to authorise transactions without going online, the terminal must be able to securely store completed transactions for later submission to the bank.

Receipting, User Interface and User Interactions

In addition, if merchant or customer receipts are required then the terminal will also need to be fitted with a printer, and there will normally also be a visual display that can used to inform the merchant and customer of the transaction progress and any other information that may be required. If the customer needs to enter data or select options during the transaction, then an additional keypad or function keys may also be fitted.

EMV Level 2 Kernel Software

Finally, and most importantly, at the heart of any EMV terminal is the EMV level 2 kernel, which is usually a distinct software component that contains all the EMVCo-defined processing logic required to perform a transaction. This generates all the EMV commands to send to the card via the IFD and processes all the card’s responses, together with configuration data stored in the terminal, in order to perform the necessary steps required to complete an EMV transaction.

CreditCall’s EMV level 2 kernels are fully compliant with all the latest industry requirements, and provide a simple but powerful way to add EMV level 2 functionality to payment devices. Check out for further details of these EMV kernels.

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