The challenges of embedded software project management...

... when payment terminals are concerned

The development of embedded software is a crucial step in the overall payment terminal manufacturing process. Payment devices can only be deployed when they prove compliance with international payment and security standards. Hence the integration and approval of EMV® payment software is at the core of terminal manufacturers’ concerns.


Technology update cycle

Kernel integration and debugging stage

The development of the Level 2 embedded kernels into payment terminals starts when the hardware part proves sufficient stability.

During the set up of development environment, software engineers operate some verifications of the hardware functionality while the dedicated project manager sets the delivery planning in coordination with the development and validation departments.

” EMV Level 1*, contact or contactless has to be stable before integration of upper layers”

Choose the right product configuration...

… and register your device with the payment brands that you intend to support.

Project managers are in charge of the configuration of the payment software (ICS* Implementation Conformance Statements) for each card scheme. Several documents must be provided to laboratories and payment schemes to submit the devices to type approval. They describe the product capabilities depending on the type of terminal.

“Baseline and additional configurations are allowed in a payment terminal. Define with your team which market segment and related capabilities you target”

Validate the implementation

Once the functional kernels are implemented a series of tests are performed to evaluate the quality of the implementation.

The mission of the validation department is to control the high end quality of the embedded payment software.

If the tests results are conclusive, then software project is ready to be delivered in draft release to perform cross* and combination* tests at an accredited laboratory. These tests are required by several card scheme to verify the interoperability of the product.

” Software is tested against functional testing plan, interoperability and performance requirements”

Here you are !! Ready for certification

At the end of the validation process, the solution is ready to be delivered, with the final versions of the payment libraries, and a series of tools to set up the device environment during the official testing session at the laboratory.

Product is ready to be certified!!!

“Several tasks can be achieved in parallel : whilst kernel stacks are implemented, complete your payment software integration”

Last but not the least

Continuous support post-approval


The challenge for payment solution providers is to build a reliable solution, secure, integrating the necessary payment functionalities, allowing it to be deployed in a cost effective and timely manner in their target markets.

“The management of your product life cycle is crucial.

Renewal, new certification, derivative product or extended accreditation are a part of the global process of your product management

Choosing the right partner allows terminal providers to focus on their application development, while shortening the embedded software procurement and overall stacks integration but also helps them to better manage their product development and synchronise their life cycle on the market.


At Alcineo, we provide the EMV payment suite and security modules and share our expertise in embedded software development to help payment terminal providers to accelerate time to market.


EMV Level 1 development process includes the design of antenna according mechanical constraints, added to a dedicated component. An analog and digital debug should be done to check the stability of the CL1 stack

One of the main documents to be provided for Level 2 certifications. It describes your product capabilities and kernel configurations. Each payment schemes has issued its own ICS. 

Cross Testing (or Combination) tests verify that mobile/card is working whatever its position in the device’s operating volume. It is quite similar to EMVCo CL1 test but here payment schemes require to use physical media (card or mobile).

Interoperability tests are performed to check basic features of the card reader. A set of cards and mobiles are used to test the reader behavior.

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