EMV is a standard created in the 1990's in Europe and used globally in the payments industry. It primarily specifies the interoperation between integrated circuit cards (aka "smart cards") in your wallet and the terminals where you want to buy something or withdraw cash. These cards offer higher security, and are increasingly used in place of magnetic stripe cards. Globally, excluding the US, as of October 2011 there were 1.3 billion EMV cards in existence representing a 42% adoption rate, according to EMVCo who manage the standard. The key words here are "excluding the US".
The US payments industry is late to this party, but is being forced to adopt EMV in order to ensure the cards they issue are usable abroad, and to prevent the fraud that EMV counteracts from relocating to the US. In August 2011 Visa announced their EMV rollout, and they were followed by MasterCard and Discover in early 2012. The target date for acquirers to be processing EMV transactions is April 2013. There are liability & PCI incentives that will encourage this adoption.
Of course, as has been said many times before, the nice thing about standards is there are so many to choose from. In the UK the rollout was dubbed "Chip and PIN" in reference to the fact that users were required to enter a secret PIN in order to authenticate their use of the card. Chip and PIN is widely, though not exclusively, used in Western Europe over the alternative "Chip and Signature" where consumers must sign something. In the US Visa is adopting Chip and Signature whereas MasterCard is aiming for Chip and PIN. Just for good measure, the different card schemes and issuers may also differ in how they implement EMV's provisions. Testing these transactions can be challenging due not only to the peculiarities of each implementation, but also the difficulty in obtaining the requisite information; it's always a lot of fun asking for master encryption keys, and watching the resulting frenzy, even with test environments.
How Ascert Can Help
Through its UK offices, Ascert has been using its VersaTest product to test EMV payments systems, since 1998. With customers throughout Europe, the Middle-East and Africa, Ascert has built a large repository of experience and a library of reusable modules for testing the different flavors of EMV. This experience and library were increased by Ascert's US office when Canada adopted the EMV standards; in fact VersaTest was used as a certification engine for Canada’s national payment network.
Now we get to do this again with the US rollout. The timescales for this roll out are very aggressive, and having a partner with our level of testing experience in this area can be the key difference in the success of your projects. Ascert's VersaTest product will run on any Java-enabled platform and is the only commercial testing product that can run natively on NonStop systems. Its libraries are actively updated with the latest EMV standards. With the ability to control the tests from a browser, or from our plugin for HP's Quality Center product, executing tests and analyzing the results from your payments application has never been easier.