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Upgrading payments infrastructure for EMV

EMV has been a fact of life in Europe for over 10 years. Banks and payments processors have invested billions of Euros to upgrade their systems to handle EMV payments traffic. The result? Fraud levels at the point of sale have decreased – the migration has done what it was supposed to do.

Over the coming three years, the US (among other countries) will go through the same migration process as EMV is adopted. Thousands of systems will have to be upgraded or replaced in order to support EMV payments transactions. For payments companies dealing with existing systems (and with operations teams tied up with business as usual tasks), this can be expected to be extremely costly, both financially and in terms of time that could otherwise be used to add value to your platform for your customers.

We at Aviso believe that our Novate payment switch can help. With our EMV wrapper, Novate can be configured to wrap around your existing  switch in order to handle the EMV piece of your payment message. Novate can look after all of the complexities of EMV (including things like Message Authentication Codes, DUPKT validation and pin block translation) while insulating the rest of your infrastructure from change. This will allow Novate to take over the task of ensuring that your infrastructure remains PCI and EMV compliant, allowing your existing development and operational resources to focus on tasks that actually bring in new revenue.

How it works

The Novate EMV wrapper for real-time processing consists of a few different modules. These are:

  • the EMV Downgrade Module
  • the Novate EMV Database, and
  • the EMV Upgrade Module

The EMV Downgrade Module is responsible for sitting ‘in front of’ your existing switch  (in this post I will refer to your system as a switch, but it could equally be a card management system), accepting EMV messages from clients – whether the clients are physical terminals or integrated systems. The Downgrade Module strips out all EMV data from the message, stores that EMV data in the Novate EMV Database, and forwards on the message in the  non-EMV format in use today by the existing switch. The exiting switch performs its business as usual processing of the non-EMV transaction, before forwarding it on to the EMV Upgrade Module. The EMV Upgrade Module re-applies the EMV fields to the outgoing message, before forwarding it on to the destination.

EMV payment, EMV compliant

Taken step by step, here’s what happens:

  1. An EMV message arrives at the switch, where it is accepted by the EMV Downgrade Module
  2. The EMV Downgrade Module ‘downgrades’ the message to the existing, non-EMV format, while saving EMV data in the EMV Database
  3. The downgraded message is forwarded to the existing switch
  4. The existing switch performs business as usual processing
  5. The existing switch forwards the message to the EMV Upgrade Module
  6. The EMV Upgrade Module (with the help of the EMV Database) re-applies EMV fields to the message
  7. The EMV Upgrade Module forwards on the message to the relevant acceptor (card scheme or other payment processor)

Additionally, the EMV Wrapper gives switch operators latitude to decide what piece of their switching infrastructure should be responsible for what – for example, the Novate wrapper can be made responsible for handling network messages (e.g. sign on/sign off messages or echo messages), or it can act as a transparent pass-through service should you wish to continue using your existing switch to handle these sorts of tasks.

While dealing with single message protocols this real-time piece will be sufficient to enable EMV, when dealing with dual message protocols there is more often than not a second batching step that must be made EMV compliant. The Novate EMV wrapper also has a solution for this, using the EMV Clearing File Converter. The Converter makes use of Novate’s message parsing functionality to read non-EMV clearing files and generating EMV compliant clearing files using a combination of the data from the non-EMV clearing file and the Novate EMV Wrapper DB.

The Novate EMV Wrapper has been designed to be as straightforward to implement as possible, and to reduce the changes required to handle EMV transactions within existing switching platforms. With that in mind, Aviso has come up with a solution that in many cases will not require any changes at all to core switching platforms: for those of you familiar with how cumbersome such changes can be, I’m sure you can appreciate how powerful this proposition really is. If you are a payments processor facing into what could be a costly and time consuming EMV migration, you should contact us.