EMVCo has released a draft specification for the contactless kernels used in payment acceptance devices to process contactless transactions and has made it available for public review.

The EMV contactless kernel specification incorporates features and requirements including advanced security technologies such as elliptic curve cryptography (ECC) for card authentication, biometric and mobile card verification methods, on-card data storage, secure channel technology for privacy, and data protection and architecture that supports physical or cloud implementations.

EMVCo is developing the specification in order “to simplify and advance global contactless payment acceptance” and “to address industry demand for an EMV contactless kernel […] to streamline global payment acceptance”.

“A contactless kernel provides a set of functions for payment acceptance devices (such as point-of-sale terminals and ATMs) to process contactless transactions,” EMVCo explains. 

“Currently, there are more than 20 different payment system contactless kernels in use around the world, which technology vendors use to provide products that enable merchants to accept contactless payments. 

“The complexity and cost of maintaining this multi-kernel environment is a growing challenge for the payments community.

“The EMV contactless kernel specification aims to address this challenge by delivering an EMV kernel specification that all stakeholders over time can use for global contactless payment acceptance, under the same royalty-free conditions as the EMV contact chip specification.

“EMVCo will also provide approval testing for the EMV contactless kernel specification through EMVCo accredited and audited laboratories and publish a list of all approved EMV contactless kernals on the EMVCo website.”

The draft specification is available online for public review until 20 June and EMVCo aims to release the final specification “later in 2022”.

EMVCo revealed plans to extend its specifications and testing programmes including those relating to contactless payment terminals in February.

EMVCo releases draft contactless kernel specification for payment acceptance devices was written by Tom Phillips and published by NFCW.

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