Before any payment terminal gets out there, it needs to adhere to the rules set by the payment systems (or payment brands), like the latest EMV Level 3.
That means that each merchant-processor/acquirer combination needs to be certified before any (m)POS terminal goes into operation. This certification is an essential proof of quality and guarantees a uniform brand experience worldwide.
The payment systems mandate three types of EMVCo certificates:
- EMV Level 1 and 2 technical certificates, covering the implementation of the general EMVCo specifications at hardware and software level
- EMV Level 3 certificates, driven by the payment systems. These deal with the end-to-end certification, to ensure a correct integration between a terminal (POS or mobile POS) and the acquiring system.
EMV Level 3 certifications are less complex but more comprehensive at a business level. The number of certifications is considerably higher, due to the re-use of EMV kernels and the multitude of combinations and versions. While the number of tests required depends on the applicable transaction types (contact, contactless, debit, credit,…) and accepted brands, it is likely to amount to several hundred.
Needless to say, a EMV Level 3 certification process can be daunting, and if not planned and executed thoroughly, it can get costly and time-consuming.
Companies achieve higher success rates by preparing well and adding a pre-certification phase to their certification process:
- Pre-certification: this is the training track, preparing for the actual assessment. It typically involves: strategy definition, implementation of EMV specs and brand requirements, staff/merchant training and testing against the official test plans.
- Formal certification: this is the actual examination and includes the preparation of certification packages and submitting these to the payment brands.
Because a picture says more than a thousand words, below is an infographic that will clarify things. Should you need more information, don’t hesitate to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.