EMV Chip Technology

EMV Chip Technology: The global standard for secure and trustworthy transactions.

EMV is the international standard that regulates credit and debit card payments using chip card technology. Named after its developers – Europay, MasterCard and Visa – the EMV standard was created in 1999 and has been in constant development ever since. The standard is designed to enable payments made through cards with integrated microprocessors at a payment terminal.

Today more than 75% of payment terminals use EMV technology and more than 1.5 billion cards are fitted with the chips.

Over time EMV has added new technologies to its initial implementation. Having started life as a specification designed to enable transactions when the inbuilt chips are brought into contact with a payment terminal, the specifications now include EMV Contactless, EMV Common Payment Application (CPA), EMV Card Personalisation, and EMV Tokenisation, as well as documentation and materials to manage mobile payments. The guiding principle behind all EMV specifications is a desire to develop an interoperable and global standard for all secure payment transactions (payment security).

What is ‘Chip and PIN’?

The term ‘Chip and PIN’ is often used to describe EMV transactions due to the way that consumers are asked to enter their unique Personal Identification Numbers (PIN) to verify their identity. However, the EMV specifications also make provisions for other types of verification and, unlike the earlier magnetic stripe transactions, which typically only tracked card numbers and expiration dates, EMV transactions contain dozens of pieces of information that can be exchanged between the card (credit card chip), terminal and acquiring bank.

These additional data points mean that a payment terminal must go through several steps to complete a transaction, from handling cryptographic authentication to successfully completing a payment. Adding support for EMV to existing payment applications can therefore be fraught with complexity.

EMV Specification, Testing and Certification

Any company wishing to deploy an EMV system (chip and PIN) must first ensure that its implementation passes a series of tests designed to ensure that it conforms to EMV standards (EMV 4). This testing is carried out within a certification scheme that overcomes the complex technical environment of a system made up of several stakeholders by ensuring that each distinct aspect of the deployment strategy conforms to required specifications, is thoroughly tested and meets security requirements.

There are several steps that must be followed when constructing an EMV certification (EMV 4) scheme:

  • Analysis of technical specification.
  • Defining a test strategy based on use cases.
  • Defining the certification process, from registration to certification.
  • Testing tools and laboratory processes.
  • Test plan creation.
  • Test bench design and development.
  • Laboratory set up.
  • Testing services.


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