Alliance Activities : Publications : EMV and NFC: Complementary Technologies Enabling Secure Contactless Payments

Publication Date: November 2015

As the U.S. migration to EMV chip payments continues, industry participants are thinking about preparing to process payments made using EMV contact chip cards, EMV contactless chip cards, mobile Near Field Communication (NFC) devices, or all three. Yet for some, misconceptions around what NFC technology really is and how it can be used with EMV chip payments persist. The white paper, “EMV and NFC: Complementary Technologies Enabling Secure Contactless Payments,” clarifies how NFC and EMV work as companion technologies.

EMV is a global standard for secure debit or credit payments made using chip cards at a merchant who has an EMV chip-acceptance infrastructure.  EMV-compliant chip card payments protect against the use of counterfeit, lost, or stolen cards and skimming.  Issuers, merchants, consumers, and acquirers/processors can all benefit from EMV.  As a result of the EMV fraud liability shift in October 2015, merchants, issuers, and processors in the United States are in the final stages of upgrading their infrastructures.

EMV is a payments technology.

NFC is a communications technology that enables contactless EMV.

Simultaneously with the U.S. move to EMV chip card payments, Near NFC technology is emerging as a useful accessory for consumer transactions.  NFC is not a payment technology; it is a set of standards that enables proximity-based communication between consumer electronic devices such as mobile phones, tablets, and personal computers.  NFC supports an extremely simple man-machine interface, facilitating its use for a number of functions, including mobile payment.  NFC technology is compatible with the current contactless payment acceptance infrastructure—an NFC-compliant mobile device can communicate with a point-of-sale (POS) system that currently accepts contactless payment cards.

NFC and EMV are companion technologies.  NFC applies to how devices communicate; EMV applies to payments made with contact and contactless chip cards or with a mobile NFC device emulating a contactless chip card.  Contactless payment transactions made using mobile NFC devices use the same infrastructure as contact and contactless EMV chip card transactions.

The white paper describes the current status of the U.S. payment issuance and acceptance infrastructure, identifies impacts, benefits and key considerations for contactless payment migration. Topics covered include:

About the White Paper

This white paper was developed by the Smart Card Alliance Mobile Council to provide an educational resource on Bluetooth low energy, describing what it is, how it’s used, how it fits with other mobile technologies, and what security aspects should be considered for BLE-enabled applications.

Members involved in the development of this white paper included: Advanced Card Systems Ltd.; Booz Allen Hamilton; Capgemini USA Inc.; CH2M Hill; Cubic Transportation Systems, Inc.; Discover Financial Services; First Data Corporation; Fiserv; Giesecke & Devrient; Heartland Payment Systems; Identification Technology Partners; Ingenico; Intercede; IQ Devices; Morpho; NXP Semiconductors; Oberthur Technologies; Underwriters Laboratories (UL).

About the Mobile Council

The Smart Card Alliance Mobile Council was formed to raise awareness and accelerate the adoption of secure payments, loyalty, marketing, promotion/coupons/offers, peer-to-peer, identity, and access control applications using mobile and tethered wearable devices The Council focuses on activities that will help to educate the industry on implementation and security considerations and will act as a bridge between technology development/specification and the applications that can deliver business benefits to industry stakeholders.

The Council takes a broad industry view and brings together industry stakeholders in the different vertical markets that can benefit from secure mobile applications. The Council collaborates on:

About the Smart Card Alliance Payments Council

The Smart Card Alliance Payments Council focuses on facilitating the adoption of chip-enabled payments and payment applications in the U.S. through education programs for consumers, merchants, issuers, acquirers/processors, government regulators, mobile telecommunications providers and payments service providers.  The group is bringing together payments industry stakeholders, including payments industry leaders, merchants and suppliers, and is working on projects related to implementing EMV, contactless payments, NFC-enabled payments and applications, mobile payments, and chip-enabled e-commerce.  The Council’s primary goal is to inform and educate the market about the value of chip-enabled payments in improving the security of the payments infrastructure and in enhancing the value of payments and payment-related applications for industry stakeholders.  Council participation is open to any Smart Card Alliance member who wishes to contribute to the Council projects.