GSMA, EMVCo and GlobalPlatform to develop cross-industry NFC certification process

The three associations will design a model which will allow certification processes to be put in place to ensure that any NFC payments application will work on any platform.

WORKING TOGETHER: GlobalPlatform will lead the joint effort to develop a certification process
WORKING TOGETHER: GlobalPlatform will lead the joint effort to develop a certification process

Card payments standards body EMVCo and telecoms association the GSM Association have agreed to work with GlobalPlatform to define a common certification process that will enable mobile network operators and the payments industry to develop cross-industry certification schemes for NFC services.

“When fully developed and operational, these schemes will work together to ensure that any certified payment application will work with any certified UICC [SIM] platform, reducing the incidence of certification failures when new application/platform combinations are subsequently added for testing,” say the associations. “The result will be significantly reduced testing and development costs and a faster time to market. Additionally, no further certifications will be necessary when loading applications with less stringent security requirements onto new UICC platforms.”

GlobalPlatform has been chosen to lead the initiative due to its cross-industry technical expertise. “We believe that the creation of the model will increase overall market confidence,” says Gil Bernabeu, GlobalPlatform’s technical director. “Although industry bodies such as MNOs and payment organisations will remain responsible for certifying technology compliance, GlobalPlatform hopes that adherence to the model and relevant security configurations will become commonplace.”

The agreement has been welcomed by a number of trade associations and standards bodies.

“This initiative fully supports the objectives of the EPC as regards the creation of a standardised and interoperable environment for mobile payments,” says Dag-Inge Flatraaker, chair of the European Payments Council‘s M-Channel Group. “The composite certification will improve the timeliness of the approval process and ease related procedures for banks and payments service suppliers. This initiative allows the banks to manage and control the security of their applications when operating in the mobile payments environment.”

“Dissociating the certification of the platform from the application is a great initiative to not only accelerate the development and deployment of applications, especially in multi-issuer environments, but also avoid technology fragmentation,” added Michel Canitrot, chairman of the board for the SIMalliance. “It is a guarantee for the issuer that, whatever the platform, the application will be deployed seamlessly and securely. NFC is typically a use case where this guarantee is essential for mass market deployment.”

“A common type approval approach for contactless mobile payment UICCs will avoid redundancy and conflicting efforts between different parties with approval authorities and interests,” explains Brian Byrne, chairman of the EMVCo board of managers. “We see this as a natural extension of EMVCo’s commitment to provide a globally interoperable acceptance environment for secure payments. Our participation is aimed at ensuring the resulting type approval process is not only cost-effective and efficient, but that it is secure and flexible enough to meet the requirements of the payment and telecommunications industries.”

“Developing a UICC certification model for NFC services that is cost effective and results in a short time to market will be critical for the commercial rollout of mobile NFC services worldwide”, concluded Alex Sinclair, chief technology officer of the GSMA.

GlobalPlatform has also working on a compliance programme for NFC SIMs. Test suites, which can be used to develop testing tools that ensure NFC SIMs meet GlobalPlatform standards, are being released to GlobalPlatform members now.

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