EMVCo to certify mobile devices for NFC and HCE payments

EMVCo has introduced a formal industry testing and certification process for contactless mobile payment devices. The new process “incorporates Level 1 tests traditionally managed by the individual payment systems,” the payments standards body says, “bringing efficiencies to the process and reducing time to market”.

EMVCo EMVCo’s Level 1 specification defines the physical characteristics, radio frequency interface and transmission protocol between credit and debit cards and a payment terminal. The new testing and approval process covers both secure element (SE) and host card emulation (HCE) based services and, EMVCo says, marks the first time it has provided formal certification for NFC mobile payment devices.

The updated Level 1 testing and approval includes:

  • Digital and analogue testing for the electrical, mechanical and communication protocol characteristics of the mobile device, defined within the EMV Contactless Communication Protocol Specification – Book D, version 2.5;
  • Interoperability testing to validate the successful interaction between the mobile payment device and a range of EMVCo approved payment acceptance terminals;
  • Performance testing of the mobile payment device to ensure optimal transaction times. “This test is currently available for universal integrated circuit cards only, with embedded SEs and HCE testing to follow in due course,” EMVCo says.

“For mobile devices that host several SEs and HCE interfaces, multiple execution environment testing is also required,” the organisation adds. “This ensures that all payment-enabled technologies within the device have been evaluated.”

Any mobile device equipped to perform NFC payments is eligible for certification including smartphones, wearables and tablets. The process will be managed and evolved by EMVCo in line with industry needs.

“EMVCo recognizes that the use of mobile devices to make contactless payments is growing in popularity,” says Jonathan Main, current chair of the EMVCo board of managers. “It is important that the payments industry supports manufacturers’ product development cycles, while ensuring that the correct testing is undertaken to confirm that a product will be interoperable with the established payment infrastructure.

“The centralized testing framework from EMVCo will significantly streamline the existing process to optimize product time to market.”

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