Active engagement and collaboration with the payments industry is key to EMVCo’s proven model for creating, evolving and promoting globally adopted specifications that support innovation and address marketplace needs. In this post, Matt Crothers, Chair of EMVCo’s Engagement Working Group, explores the EMVCo Associates Programme and the role it plays in promoting industry engagement.

Can you provide a little background on the EMVCo Associates Programme (EAP)?

The origins of the EAP can be traced back to the earliest days of EMVCo. When the organisation was created in 1999 to administer the then new EMV® Chip Specification, it established a Board of Advisors. This comprised various organisations that were responsible for the deployment of EMV Chip technology, such as card issuers, merchant acquirers and technology vendors, amongst others, and provided invaluable strategic advice on the role EMV technology was playing in the ‘real world’.

The EAP was then launched in 2010 as the global rollout of EMV Chip continued and EMVCo’s scope expanded. This move aimed to promote broader engagement and enable all payment industry stakeholders to play a more active role in EMVCo’s strategic and technical direction, complementing the work of the Board of Advisors.

With EMVCo’s Associate community going from strength-to-strength, a series of enhancements were made in 2019 to reflect the growing diversity of EMVCo’s work and foster further cross-industry collaboration.

Most notably, all organisations who demonstrate an ongoing commitment to EMV deployment and interoperability can now not only join the EAP, but also participate on the Board of Advisors. This significantly increased the number of companies who could join this key group.

Another important change was the creation of a dedicated ‘Merchant’ Associate participation option to reflect EMVCo’s ongoing commitment to collaborating with the merchant community. An ‘Industry Groups’ Associate participation option was also established to promote and support cross-industry collaboration with other bodies.

Fast-forward to today, and EMVCo now has over 86 Associates and has been described as including “virtually every key payments company, technology provider, security firm or financial services organisation.”[1]

Who are EMVCo Associates?

EMVCo Associates include merchants, issuers, acquirers, payment networks, financial institutions, manufacturers, technology providers and testing laboratories from around the world that contribute their knowledge and expertise to the development of EMV Specifications. A list of all EMVCo’s Associates can be found here.

Why should an organisation get involved as an EMVCo Associate?

Participation as an EMVCo Associate provides unique opportunities to support seamless and secure payments across the globe.

All Associates participating on the Board of Advisors can shape EMVCo’s strategic direction, bring new proposals to the table, and review and validate the concept and scope of new specifications or major updates. Associates also interact regularly with EMVCo’s technical Working Groups and Task Forces to address the technical considerations driving new initiatives and proposed changes, submit technical contributions and shape meeting agendas. As part of this collaborative specification development process, EMVCo’s Advisors have a vote on whether a final draft of a new specification or major update is ready for official publication.

EMVCo’s advisory and technical meetings also provide unique opportunities to engage with payment industry leaders on strategic and technical topics. Given the importance of these networking opportunities, a key focus for EMVCo in 2022 has been navigating the return of face-to-face meetings and supporting in-person, and virtual requirements.

“As an EMVCo Associate, we saw clear opportunities to contribute to the development of global specifications that promote seamless and secure payments worldwide. We look forward to continued and productive collaboration with EMVCo.”


What are some key achievements of the EAP over the years?

The EAP is integral to EMVCo’s technical output. In recent years, it has shaped major initiatives such as the release of the EMV SRC Specifications and supported advances to EMVCo’s various approval and evaluation processes. In addition, enhancements to the EMV 3-D Secure (EMV 3DS) Specifications to support the travel and video-gaming industries have showcased the value of cross-sector collaboration.

In fact, the recent publication of the draft EMV Contactless Kernel Specification perfectly encapsulates the role the EAP plays in facilitating extensive engagement with EMVCo stakeholders and the wider payments industry to understand marketplace needs and determine the best approach.

For example, the development process included a feasibility study conducted by two independent consulting research firms, a number of consultative meetings with EMVCo Associates, a request for comments from EMVCo Associates, and a public review. The Board of Advisors will then review the final specification and vote on whether to approve its publication.

How does the EAP benefit the wider payment community?

As we have seen, stakeholder contributions through the EAP have shaped the EMV offering and helped EMVCo to establish a payment infrastructure that delivers trusted and convenient payments for merchants and consumers worldwide. Direct involvement from a range of industry players helps drive EMV Specifications forward to support technology innovations, address the needs of different retail and geographical marketplaces, and meet changes in consumer payment behaviours and preferences.

Beyond the EAP, how else does EMVCo engage with the payment community?

All payments industry stakeholders are actively encouraged to contribute to the development of EMV Specifications and provide input to EMVCo. For this reason, EMVCo is committed to a flexible approach that maximises participation.

For example, it is important to note that EMV Specifications are available to all industry participants completely royalty-free. What’s more, new EMV Specifications and major updates are released for public review to provide all parties with the opportunity to provide comments ahead of final publication.

For organisations that want additional insight, EMVCo Subscribers receive notice of pending developments and changes, and participate in a more regular and formal dialogue with EMVCo.

EMVCo also has working relationships with multiple industry associations, standards organisations and technical bodies around the world. By collaborating and sharing information on related specifications, standards and initiatives, we help ensure that there are no conflicting requirements or gaps that would limit implementation.

What are you most excited about for the EAP in the coming year?

I’m looking forward to upcoming opportunities to bring the EMVCo community together. Coming up we’ll have the chance to engage in-person with EMVCo Associates at our Board of Advisors Meeting in Indonesia in October and at our Technical Meeting in the US in November.

At these interactive meetings, we’ll explore EMVCo’s key technical priorities and have a chance to hear directly from Associates on market needs and challenges. We will discuss and get their input on the evolution of payment acceptance, including developments on the EMV Contactless Kernel Specification. We will also consider the future of e-commerce, which incorporates the latest developments for EMV Secure Remote Commerce (EMV SRC) and EMV 3-D Secure (EMV 3DS).

As we welcome new Associates into the programme and begin to look ahead to 2023, I’m really excited about these opportunities to connect in-person once again with the Associate community.


Want to get involved in the EMVCo Associates Programme?