Dr. EMV or How We Learned to Love Payment Systems

by Barış Şenliol

Kubrick’s 1964 movie Dr. Strangelove, featuring Peter Seller’s iconic performance, tells the story of a doctor in the abyss of nuclear war and his story on how he manages to get the most from the situation for his well-being and the people. From inside all the disagreements between nations and conflicts of internal actors, he reaches the end of the movie with a personal gain, although the ending does not produce a happy outcome for the world.  

That was quite similar to the conditions when EMVCo was established in 1999. In those days, there was harsh competition between payment schemes, card payment frauds were vastly increasing, the market was demanding new means of card payments, and the need for a secure payment system was undeniable. Fortunately, the ending of this story was not like Dr. Strangelove’s world. 

Do you know any other organization that converted pure rivalry into a motivation to create a greater good? That is what EMVCo has been achieving for more than two decades, even after two of three founding fathers, Europay and Mastercard, merged and formed a majority. They always put everything aside, grew the organization by allowing new payment schemes to join the force, and continue to shape the card payment ecosystem into a more robust, trustable and, most importantly, secure establishment. 

EMVCo initially worked on creating chip card standards and presented revolutionary Chip & Pin blueprints to the market. With the wide acceptance of these standards, EMV has become an acronym for chip card payments in the card payment domain. Today, globally, 10+ billion cards are using EMV standards and 86% of transactions are conducted through EMV’s secure technology. Even in a late adopter like the US, EMV transaction coverage increased to 73%, which shows that the world has already embraced EMV’s convenience and is anticipating its next big breakthrough. 

Nowadays, EMVCo has evolved beyond physical card payments. In addition to providing specifications for security enhancements for physical card payments, EMVCo is also focusing on applying standards to online and in-store non-physical card payments, to establish a reliable and convenient online payment environment. 

EMV’s Payment Tokenization specification has helped its members to increase security with mobile (HCE) payments. Using it in conjunction with EMV Secure Remote Commerce (SRC) standards, HCE’s convenience is expanded to online, in-app and e-com payments. EMV 3D Secure (3DS) specs bring additional convenience to customer authentication with e-com payments and make multiple high-tech authentication methods available for use instead of sticking to the usage of legacy SMS messages. EMV’s sole aim in their online payment specs is to create a balance between customer convenience and payment security in order to provide frictionless payment flows to cardholders. 

The Covid19 pandemic has also changed cardholders’ demand for non-physical means for in-store payments. China’s countrywide, almost literally forced, scan-to-pay trend, QR Code payments, have now been widened throughout the world. EMVCo’s foresight resulted in the publishing of EMV QR specifications even before the pandemic; thus, payment scheme members are already ready to jump on the wagon to catch the ongoing trend.   

By 2025, it is expected that 2.2 billion transactions will be conducted via QR codes, a total of over $2.7 trillion globally. EMV’s early approach will ease existing solutions’ migration to a standardized approach, to increase interoperability between different QR payment providers.  

Although it seems like EMVCo has focused more on online payments lately, they also concluded a decade-long story of using a higher cryptographic infrastructure with physical chip cards. EMVCo has been evaluating the creation of a standard for a new security method for chip cards since 2010, when the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced that they will not support EMV’s strongest 1984-bit RSA key after 2030.  

After a decade of carrying out research on technical details and acceptance estimations, the Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) specification was finally announced this year. It instantly became the latest hot topic about physical card payments, and card issuers are looking for a solution for the possible migration from the legacy RSA method. 

Now, everybody is asking how they will migrate from their legacy systems to align with EMVCo’s latest specifications. This is when we come for your help. PayCore offers award-winning, fully certified EMV Solutions with the help of its top-of-the-notch domain experts. Our EMV Solutions help terminal vendors, chip vendors, card issuers, acquirers and transit operators for the smooth migration of their legacy systems to EMV standards. PayCore offers state-of-the-art solutions and services with more than 19 years of experience in this specialized field.

So, do not delay the future by postponing today. We are one contact away and waiting to help you to catch the future and to serve your and your customers’ best interests.

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