Follow EMV® contactless books to build secure and reliable payment terminals

The purpose of EMV® contactless books or specifications released by EMVCo is to guide payment terminal providers to build secure and reliable payment acceptance solutions and streamline contactless transactions worldwide.

To deploy at a global scale, payment terminal providers must develop their products in compliance with the international payment standard EMV. EMV technology ensures interoperability between various payment systems, simplifying the acceptance of smartcard payments on many markets. Moreover, the requirements defined in EMV specifications aim at improving data security during payment transactions whether performed in contact or contactless mode. EMV contactless specifications are structured into different books, describing the requirements and functionalities that POS systems must comply with to be approved.  

These specifications are regularly updated to reflect the latest evolutions of payment technologies and to guarantee the highest level of protection of sensitive data in line with the development of new payment use cases.  

Recently EMVCo released a new specification for contactless transactions Book C8 and added a new specification describing security mechanisms and key management (Book E). 

EMV Contactless books for payment terminals

Book A - Architectures and general requirements

Book A describes the overall architecture of a POS system, defining the responsibilities of readers and terminals. It also describes a set of requirements for general features to work properly in the acceptance environment (merchants/acquirers). 

These features are POS functions (e.g Field management, Display Amount, Cardholder Verification, Receipts) and POS configuration (e.g Transaction Type, Floor Limit, Currency Codes). 

Some features in this book also provide details about Entry Point (please refer to Book B), User Interaction (e.g Beep, Led) and the Outcomes. 

Book B - Entry point specification

The entry point specification defines ways to support a multi-kernel architecture by using a conductor named Entry Point.  To build a reliable entry point for correct kernel management, terminal manufacturers must properly implement functionalities such as : 

  • Pre Processing. Preliminary transaction processing prior to the activation of the contactless interface of the reader and before the cardholder is invited to present a contactless card.  
  •  Protocol Activation. Activation of the contactless interface.  
  • Combination Selection: Selection of the kernel to use for the transaction. 
  • Kernel Activation. Entry Point activates the selected kernel and this begins kernel processing. 
  • Outcome Processing. Entry Point processes an Outcome according to the type of Outcome and the values of the Outcome parameters.  

contactless payment in bars and restaurants

Book C2 to C8 - EMV Contactless kernels specifications

There are now 7 EMV Books C-X  describing the specification for the development of EMV Level 2 contactless transaction framework. 

Contactless Interface Specification

The contactless communication protocole described previously in Book D has been replaced (since the version 2.6) with EMV Contactless Interface specification.

The Contactless Interface Specification describes the functionality required to ensure correct data exchange between the payment card and contactless reader. It provides the rules to follow to develop the low-level functionalities of the terminals, such as RF power, frequency and the communication protocol (commands and responses). 

Book E - Security Mechanisms and Key Management

Initially described in the first edition of the EMV Contactless C8 kernel specification, the requirements for security mechanisms, key management and cryptographic algorithms are now gathered in the new Book E – Contactless security specification.  

Payment terminal manufacturers shall develop the mechanisms in compliance with Book E to protect accordingly sensitive data during a contactless transaction between a smartcard and contactless card reader.

For more information about EMV technology, contact and contactless specifications, or other topics related to digital payment solutions, feel free to contact our team :

EMV® is a registered trademark in the U.S. and other countries and an unregisteredtrademark elsewhere. The EMV trademark is owned by EMVCo, LLC.