EMVCo the Basics

EMVCo is the global technical body that facilitates the worldwide interoperability and acceptance of secure payment transactions by managing and evolving the EMV® Specifications and related testing processes. Adoption of EMV® Specifications and associated approval and certification processes promotes a unified international payments framework, which supports an advancing range of payment methods, technologies and acceptance environments. The specifications are designed to be flexible and can be adapted regionally to meet national payment requirements and accommodate local regulations.

EMVCo is collectively owned by American Express, Discover, JCB, MasterCard, UnionPay and Visa, and focuses on the technical advancement of the EMV® Specifications. To provide all payment stakeholders with a platform to engage in its strategic and technical direction, EMVCo operates an Associates Programme and encourages all interested parties to get involved. Today, this includes participation from banks, merchants, processors, vendors and other industry stakeholders globally.

EMVCo also engages with various regional and global organisations to both receive input and share perspective on areas of respective interest. These organisations include: NFC Forum, GlobalPlatform, GSMA, PCI SSC, AFSCM, APSCA, ACT Canada, ETSI, the European Payments Council, Secure Technology Alliance and the US Payments Forum.

The Evolution of EMV® Specifications

Throughout the 1990s, companies in countries across the globe began to enhance payment card security by deploying microprocessor chip technology that was designed to meet domestic payment requirements and specifications. These domestic designs were not interoperable across geographic borders, however, and posed challenges to both business and consumers. As a result, although chip technology could be utilised to protect against fraud in domestic transactions, magnetic stripe technology was the only acceptance method when cardholders travelled outside their home countries.

EMVCo’s formation in 1999 as a global technical body enabled the development and management of specifications to address this challenge by facilitating global interoperability and enhancing payment security. EMV® Chip Specifications were therefore designed to reduce fraud at retail store locations, as the payment information stored on an embedded microchip is very difficult to counterfeit. Chip cards offer transaction security that traditional magnetic stripe cards cannot provide.

In the past ten years, EMVCo has evolved from its sole focus on the original EMV® Chip Specification, to include approval of card and terminal compliance with the EMV® Chip Specifications, interoperability, contactless and mobile, next generation and, the latest activity, EMVCo’s specifications for payment tokenisation, 3-D Secure 2.0 and secure remote commerce.

The Role of EMVCo

As an organisation striving to facilitate a payments infrastructure that is standardised in terms of security and interoperability, EMVCo plays an important role in bringing together stakeholder interests among payments industry participants. EMVCo, however, does not establish obligations, requirements, or otherwise for the implementation of its specifications. EMVCo does not mandate or enforce EMV® compliance or the implementation policies for issuers, merchants and acquirers, which are handled by payment networks independently outside of EMVCo.

EMV® Specifications:

  • Support a variety of payment security risk management parameters and cardholder verification methods that reduce fraudulent card payments. The more engagement and higher adoption, the more robust the entire infrastructure.
  • Provide the framework that promotes innovative, future payment capabilities to deliver a common, robust technology platform.
  • Deliver enhanced security, interoperability and acceptance of EMV® based payments internationally.
  • Offer flexibility so they can be adapted to accommodate national / regional payment requirements. These different adaptations are implemented in a way to interoperate within a global payment infrastructure. Stability across borders mitigates points of weakness and creates an international barrier against payment fraud.

EMVCo makes the EMV® Specifications available on a royalty-free basis to all industry participants and to the public.

For further information on EMVCo, visit About EMVCo