Industry Insights

September 01, 2015

A Better Way to Pay

Mobility is becoming an increasingly important factor in all facets of our lives. Especially in the card payment sector, a silent revolution is going on that changes the way we pay in shops, restaurants and many other locations. mPOS devices (see info box) are in fact a relatively recent addition to the payment ecosystem, but due to their tremendous user benefits, they are gaining ground fast, especially in the U.S.


Definition mPOS: mPOS, which means mobile point of sale, is the technical term describing the scenario in which the consumer does no longer go to the counter in order to pay, but the counter comes to the consumer! This is achieved by a tiny card reader connected to a smartphone or tablet that accepts the payment.



Personal, Smooth and Secure

Imagine summer time sitting outside in a lovely restaurant. Instead of a printed menu, you order your meal from a tablet provided on each table. Because you are lactose-intolerant, you worry about the ingredients and you are happy to view the complete list on the tablet. Checked and OK. After the starter, you decide to have a glass of wine with the main course while your friend goes for another beer. You can choose whatever you like, and after your meal, you can check the bill by quickly swiping through the list on the smart device. When the waiter comes, you take out your credit card and the waiter inserts it into a tiny reader now attached to the tablet. You authorize your payment in the usual way by typing in a PIN or by signing the bill – all on the tablet – all very personal, transparent, smooth and secure.


Testing Decides on Success

The summer restaurant scenario is only smooth and secure and fun if all components are fully interoperable. Only products which work reliably and guarantee secure payment transactions will survive and be successful in the payment market. For payment terminals, this has to be proven by an independent type approval or certification process. Thus, testing is a crucial investment in the product.


Low Voltages

The mPOS reader is powered by the attached smart device, thus battery life is very important. It benefits from the ongoing migration to multi voltage cards (3 V/5 V supply voltage). Using 3 V supply voltage extends battery life time since the mPOS device consumes less energy compared to 5 V. As mandated by EMVCo, single voltage cards have to be phased out until 31st December 2015.


New Test Plan with Increased Quality

As a result of the market issuing multi-voltage cards and the liability shift in the U.S. (see info box), EMVCo has updated the test specification for the type approval of these terminals. On the one hand, 3 V test cases have been added, on the other hand, all test cases have been updated to a stricter testing by updating all acceptance criteria. Now, all digitizing thresholds are scaled with VCC (VCC = Voltage at the Common Collector, the supply power). In addition, ICC spike currents for testing the VCC voltage stability have been increased to simulate worst case conditions (ICC is the current at the VCC contact). Minimum and maximum voltage limits during non-dynamic operation have been slightly increased in order not to unfairly fail a terminal because of test tool uncertainties and terminal interface contact resistance. Test case definitions are more detailed now to reduce interpretation.


Will the 3 V Testing Be Mandatory and When?

For laboratories and test houses, the 3 V tests have to be offered with the EMVCo November release 2015, deactivating the previous version at the same time. For terminal manufacturers, 3 V terminals are not mandatory, but the 5 V tests have been changed as well. Type approvals after activation of the new test specification have to comply with the updated test plan.


EMVCo Timelines Low Voltages
  • Summer 2015: Qualification of the new test tool EMVCo Electrical Terminal Testing on UT³ Platform
  • Fall 2015: Accredited laboratories and test houses shall include the new test tool in their usual internal ISO 17025 procedures before the activation of the new test plan with the EMVCo November release 2015. After the EMVCo November release, all new terminals need to be approved by the new tool complying with the updated specification.

Now Available: Qualified Test Tool for EMVCo Level 1 Contact Terminals UT³ Platform


Drivers for the New Test Specification

1. Tremendous Benefits of mPOS

For a Shop or Restaurant

  • Save time for both – in shops: retailer and shopper, in restaurants: waiter and guest
  • Better informed customers – more customer satisfaction – more chance to build relationship
  • More time to be close to the customers – better understand needs and better matching offer

For a Consumer

  • No queuing and less waiting time
  • More personal checkout experience

2. Liability Shift Boosting EMV Usage

In 2015, credit card-related fraud handling will change significantly in the U.S. While the EMV migration towards chip- and PIN-enabled cards has been going on for quite some time, from October 1st, financial liability will rest with the party not offering EMV technology. This can be the merchant not accepting a
chip transaction, the processor not providing the corresponding data elements or the bank not issuing EMV cards.

Author: Swantje Missfeldt, Product Manager for EMVCo Solutions

Download Testability Times 2015


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