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New spec pushed to speed evolution of biometric cards and mobile payments

New spec pushed to speed evolution of biometric cards and mobile payments

EMVCo, which writes and manages voluntary Europay-MastercardVisa specifications for secure and interoperable card-based payments systems worldwide, has published a draft spec for biometric and mobile verification systems.

The so-called Contactless Kernel Specification applies to point-of-sale and ATM terminals. Kernels are core software that set basic software functions.

EMVCo is owned by Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover, JCB and UnionPay. Certification to EMVCo standards is a requirement for payment cards using their networks, and the organization has been working on specifications related to biometric cards for over five years.

According to trade publication NFCW, there are more than 20 contactless kernel systems in use globally. EMVco’s release says the proposed specification aims to “simplify global acceptance for merchants, solution providers and payment systems,” by addressing “industry demand for an EMVCo contactless kernel that can be used by all stakeholders.”

It supports the development of kernels that use existing terminal infrastructure, is compatible with legacy kernels and can be licensed royalty-free.

The payments industry is collaborating to deliver a specification that supports marketplace needs and advances seamless and secure payments globally, says Alisa Ellis, executive committee chair for EMVCo.

EMVCo also collaborated with the FIDO Alliance on a white paper published in late-2020 which explained the use of biometrics in the 3-D Secure protocol for online payments.

Biometric payment cards increase security by adding fingerprint recognition to the mix — which has the potential to shift payment thresholds, as adoption of contactless technology continues to increase.

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