This post entry provides a detailed information about the EMVCo L1 certification process for contactless payment devices. The structure is the following:
When a company is developing a POS device, there are some challenges to consider for a successful deployment in the market:
These key characteristics are tackled by the EMV specifications. Summarizing, EMV is a group of specifications for smart payment cards and terminals that were created by EMVCo to guarantee interoperability and acceptance of secure payment transactions. EMV stands for Europay, Mastercard, and Visa, the three companies that originally created the standard. These specifications are now managed by EMVCo, an organization of six members – including Mastercard, UnionPay, Visa, AmEx, Discover, and JCB.
We can see in the figure below the structure of the organization. EMVCo is managed by the Board of Managers that consists of two representatives of every member of the organization. On top of the Board of Managers, the Executive Committee provides guidance on the group’s long-term strategy.
From a more technical point-of-view, it is organized in several Working Groups, each of them dedicated to specific topics. EMVCo also has the Associates Program, so key industry stakeholders can provide input and feedback to the Board of Managers, Executive Committee, and Working Groups.
EMV specifications encompass a wide range of technologies, including:
EMV Contactless specifications is now on version 2.6 but planning to move to version 3.0 by the end of the year.
The EMV Contactless specifications are structured in three books and the Contactless Interface Specifications that substitutes the Book D from previous versions of the specs.
In addition we will mention other relevant documents like:
The following diagram summarizes the process for the PCD L1 Type Approval:
In the first step the Product Provider shall submit a Request for Registration form to EMVCo. Once EMVCo reviews and accepts the form, the product provider will receive a contract that has to be signed. Upon reception of this contract, EMVCo will assign a product provider registration number.
In the second step the Product Provider will choose a Test Laboratory and complete a document called Implementation Conformance Statement in which it provides detailed information about the device and its features.
The third step is the Product Validation phase. In this phase the laboratory performs the product testing, where the device goes through a set of tests to evaluate the digital and analog performance.
In a final phase and considering the test reports from the Laboratory, the Product Provider might decide to send the product to EMVCo for approval. In that case, EMVCo would analyze the tests reports and grant with a Letter of Approval in case the reports demonstrate sufficient product conformance.
In our case we are going to focus on the Analog L1 PCD tests.
Before going directly to the actual set of tests, it worth it to explain some components about the testing environment to better understand the testing procedure. We have the following elements:
The Device Test Environment is a software application that is used to control the device under evaluation during the whole testing process. This application has to be developed by the product provider and shall be implemented in compliance with a set of requirements defined in the specifications. The software is submitted to the test laboratory along with the samples of the device under certification. The DTE shall implement different applications or modes of operation that would be used depending on the testing scenario. These application are:
The contactless symbol is the logo that you can see in the lower image. It helps the user identify the area in the Point Of Sale where he has to tap the card in order to trigger the transaction. This symbol has to be visible in the device surface or screen before and during the transaction. The Contactless symbol is extremely important for the testing procedure as it marks the reference point for all the positions that the device should be tested.
Using this reference point EMVCo defines an operating volume.
All test position are included in this operating volume. Depending on the test case, it will be run in one or more positions. Every position is expressed with a set of 3 coordinates or parameters, representing the height, the radius, and the angle respectively.
In the figure above you can see the operating volume along with the different values that each parameter can have.
The EMVCo Reference PICC is the reference antenna used to communicate with the PCD under test. It has 4 ports and 2 jumpers that are used to configure the PICC for different purposes. For example, jumper 8 is used to select between linear and non-linear load depending on the type of tests that are performed.
In the same line, the MOD IN port where a Signal Generator will inject a certain modulation to emulate a PICC response. The DC OUT port is used to measure the voltage level in the power tests and the LETI COIL OUT is used to measure the waveform tests among others. In the figure below you can also see the reference point of the antenna where the two white lines crossed:
The power tests are evaluated in all positions with the purpose of guaranteeing that the device is emitting enough field in all the positions. Depending on the height the limiting values will differ. In the figure below you can see the different planes with the respective limiting values.
The critical positions for the power tests are usually the outer positions for plane z=4 and z=3 where the voltage measured may not be strong enough to pass the tests.
On top of that and depending on the transmission configuration used, it can also happen that the voltage measured at positions (1, 0, 0) and (0, 0, 0) can exceed the maximum level.
The purpose of the waveform tests is to evaluate the wave shape of the modulation used in the commands from the PCD. That way, if the wave shape fits with the requirements an EMVCo compliant PICC would not have any problem understanding the commands sent by the PCD.
The waveform evaluation for Type A modulation include the following test cases:
In the same way, the Type B test cases are the following:
The objective of the communication or responsiveness tests is to guarantee that the PCD is able to properly finish a transaction when the response of the PICC is in the limits of the specifications in terms of amplitude and polarity.
That way we find 4 different tests:
In the two figures below we can easily check the difference in the load modulation level between the oscilloscope capture for the Tx131 and the Tx133.
Besides the power, waveform and communication tests there are other tests included in the EMVCo Analog L1 Test cases. Here is the list of these other tests:
The most important change is that the tests will no longer be carried out with one specific EMVCo reference PICC but with three. The first two are Class 1 antennas tuned to 16.1MHz and 13.56MHz, and the third reference PICC is a Class 3 antenna tuned to 13.56MHz.
This is important since the device will need to pass the test for 3 different antennas, making the testing process between 2 and 3 times slower and the tuning of the device more difficult than for the 2.6 version of the specs.
Other changes are a second different load for the linear load tests and the modifications of some waveform tests limits.
The product portfolio that NXP offers for contactless POS device includes three main chips: