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08 August 2016
Seven (7) Critical Factors To Achieve A Successful EMV And Contactless L2 Kernel Certification

EMV and Contactless Level 2 Kernel certification is a challenging and time-consuming process. There are thousands of tests needed to be performed, and, sometimes, even the smallest issue may result in certification failure, which means time and financial loss. Certification is an expensive process, and any failure will result in additional costs. To avoid this situation, we recommend the following items:

1. Internal Testing Before Certification
It is crucial that subject matter experts and third-party companies perform all certification tests before submitting for certification. One option is to work with certification labs. This step may, however, result in added costs. Another option would be to hand over responsibility for developing, porting, testing and certification to a vendor, who is well-versed in this field. This method would not only protect you from the world of unforeseen costs, as it is very difficult to anticipate what will you encounter during this long process, but also provide a clear roadmap for the end product.

2. Have a Good Communication with Certification Labs
Sometimes certification failure is thought to result from misinterpretation of certification labs. In those situations, it is extremely important to have an EMV expert on-site to be in constant communication with the lab to analyze the reason of failure. We have previously encountered situations in certification tests, and following detailed discussions with a certification lab, ruled out the failure, and the certification process was carried out, saving the client from spending more time and resources on the process.

3. Ensure Performance Issues Before Certification
Contactless L2 Kernels are subjected to some additional test scenarios, like Performance Tests. The performance of the kernel is significant, especially for open loop transit usage. In some cases, the effect of the performance is not anticipated in the beginning of a project. So, although all functional tests have been successful, the certification may fail from L2 Kernel’s performance-related issues. To avoid last- minute failures like this, we always highlight the importance of testing the performance in the beginning of implementation. Then, when a performance issue is detected, we can investigate the reason thoroughly and understand whether it’s a hardware or a software issue, eliminating the risk of encountering such situations later in the process.

4. Minimize Risks for Frequent Change in Test Scripts
EMVCo, MasterCard, Visa and other payment schemes frequently update test scripts for certification. There is a risk of new updates coming during debugging or certification sessions. This may result in failure in the process. We recommend to ensure if a new version is coming before starting debugging and certification. We also recommend to start debugging session after EMV Level 2 Kernel library being fully tested internally to keep debugging duration as short as possible. Otherwise, the probability of a new test script will increase and you might need to go to another debugging session for new tests which means time and financial loss.

5. Chose Right Certification Lab
EMV and Contactless Level 2 Kernel debugging and certification process requires a joint effort between certification lab, terminal vendors and EMV Kernel Library developers. Getting good, detailed and timely reports, fast answers to the questions and collaborative work with Certification Labs on setting up the certification environment and fixing the issues are extremely important. Flexible certification and debugging slot times are some of the factors to chose the lab.

6. Decide Right Configuration
There are many different certification configurations defined in ICS (Implementation Conformance Statement). Certification is received for the selected configuration. So, if you want to use your terminal with a different configuration, the certification you have will not be valid for this situation. It is extremely important to choose the right certification configuration at the beginning, otherwise it may result in another full certification process. In EMVCo Contact certification, it is allowed you to choose multiple configuration, so you don’t need to pay a full certification fee for every configuration. Some of crucial decision points are as below :
         • Decide whether you like to have MasterCard PayPass certification with or without Data Storage feature
         • Decide whether you like to have MSD option for Visa certification. You might submit with qVSDC only or qVSDC&MSD
         • Decide whether you like to have Discover D-PASS or ZIP.

7. Shorter Certification Time
You may ask Certification Labs to shorten certification time by performing some processes as parallel. For example, cross testing and performance testing might go parallel with functional testing.

Cardtek helps clients throughout all phases of their EMV and Contactless Level 2 Kernel projects including porting, internal testing, and certification process. With almost two decades of experience in the field, and the teamwork of over 100 EMV experts, we provide our clients with unmatched EMV and Contactless L2 Kernel solutions and certification support.

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