The contribution of payment industry stakeholders is vital to the development of EMV® Specifications. In this post, Brian Byrne, Director of Operations and Engagement at EMVCo, details how EMVCo has evolved and the need for EMVCo to continually draw more effectively and directly on cross-industry expertise. This collaboration is especially important as new forms of card-based payments technology are created.

EMVCo has changed significantly since it was first established with a sole focus on EMV Chip Specifications in the 1990s. Today it advances card-based payments by specifying the underlying technology that works seamlessly and securely worldwide no matter what form they might take in both face to face and e-commerce environments.

While we engage with other technical bodies to ensure alignment, our close collaboration with the payments community – merchants, issuers, acquirers, payment networks, financial institutions, manufacturers, technology providers and testing laboratories – is crucial in adapting and advancing the EMV Specifications.

This direct engagement from a range of industry players offers strategic direction and technical insight that has driven our advances to support technology innovations, addresses the needs of different retail and geographical marketplaces, and meets changes in consumer payment behaviours and preferences. Contributions, reviews and recommendations have shaped the EMV offering to establish a payment infrastructure that delivers trusted and convenient payments for merchants and consumers worldwide.


Working with EMVCo

The EMVCo Board of Advisors was established in 1999. It consisted of businesses that had responsibilities for the deployment of EMV and was fundamental in offering strategic advice on the role of EMV technology in the real world.

In recognition of EMVCo’s growing remit, this community was expanded in 2010 with the addition of the EMVCo Associates Programme (EAP). It enabled the broader payments community to participate in EMVCo’s technical direction. Anyone with an active interest in EMV technology was able to join, discuss and contribute to technical discussions, complementing the work of the Board of Advisors.

In 2019, the EAP undertook several changes that enabled any party with a role in the deployment, usability and interoperability of EMV technology, and a commitment to it, to not only join the EAP but also have a seat on the EMVCo Board of Advisors. This significantly enhanced the number of companies eligible to join this important group.

Today the Board of Advisors and EAP is comprised of around a hundred organisations representing the diverse payment landscape across the world.


Evolving EMVCo Engagement

As new ways to pay with cards, such as contactless, with mobiles and online have been created, and payment use cases advance and change, so does the community that we need to connect with and how we do this.

So, what does EMVCo’s collaboration process now look like when a new specification or major update is being considered?

  • EMVCo hosts Business Special Interest Meetings (SIMs). These are open to the Board of Advisors to review and validate the concept and scope. EMVCo Associates and invited stakeholders are encouraged to participate in Technical SIMs to address technical considerations driving new initiatives and proposed changes.
  • Once a specification or update is in draft form, EMVCo Associates have an opportunity to review and comment. A summary of the comments received, and EMVCo’s response – the integration of input – is published for EMVCo Associates.
  • All new EMV Specifications and major updates are then published for public review to enable all parties with the opportunity to provide comments.
  • Following the public review of a specification, EMVCo Advisors vote on whether a final draft is ready for official publication by EMVCo.


Why Engage with EMVCo 

The work that EMVCo does today sets the foundations for the evolution and innovation of the payment ecosystem. We recognise that providing all payment stakeholders – inside and outside the EMVCo community – with advance sight of specifications and major updates is fundamental in empowering those implementing and maintaining EMV technology with a direct say in how our payment infrastructure evolves.


Visit How to Participate pages on the EMVCo website.

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