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EMV® Chip Specifications To Support Elliptic Curve Cryptography

October 2021 by Marc Jacob

The EMV® Contact Chip Specification, managed by global technical body EMVCo, now supports Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC). Use of this cryptography standard by the payment community can enable enhanced security without impacting technical performance of a payment device or slowing transaction processing time. The inclusion of ECC is required to support new, future payment scenarios.

In an EMV contact chip payment, the merchant point-of-sale terminal can cryptographically authenticate a card and its data. For this purpose, EMVCo has based its EMV Contact Chip Specifications on RSA (Rivest-Shamir-Adleman) public key cryptography since its inception and intends to continue to support this standard. The addition of ECC into EMV Specifications helps achieve superior cryptographic strength with much smaller key sizes, enabling more efficient transactions in the future.

EMVCo has been working with the payment community for several years through its Associate Programme to identify how it can facilitate scalable security as payment practices and technology evolve.

The EMV Contact Chip Specification for ECC (Specification Bulletin 243) has been published following approval of its release by EMVCo’s Board of Advisors and is available for royalty-free download from Updates to the EMV chip technology infrastructure will be part of the natural product lifecycle over a period of time for both cards and point-of-sale terminals.

EMVCo aims to provide EMV technology users with a suite of options to meet regional and local requirements. Both ECC and RSA will be supported by EMVCo while there is demand within the payment community. EMVCo does not mandate the use of encryption standards.

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