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2 Posts authored by: jbevington

I love acronyms and metaphor and how they shape our world.


Acronyms are like tribal slang defining ecosystems, abbreviating complexity and reducing enormous monsters of incalculable breadth into palpable comprehension.  Acronyms can be used like surgeon’s hands in any discipline to cut to the chase and bring precise, even life-enhancing, understanding. Acronyms can be soft and gentle reminders; or too, acronyms can be flung like unsuspecting arrows and solicit glazed looks of uncertainty in the uninitiated.


Acronyms, though, strive for accuracy, like a wink-wink-nudge-nudge hope to convey meaning. They can end up being academically dry appropriations of something they are not.  Take EMV for example.  The feared disruptor acronym of the payment’s industry, just saying EMV can roll off the tongue like a delectable Rolls Royce sound of elegant craftsmanship, eeeee—mmmm—veeee; sounds like it was a secret password used by 13th Century European royalty or some sacred keystone siren chant in a Dan Brown novel used to uncover new passages of the universe.  Acronyms can have this power.


EMV = Euro MasterCard Visa! Is that what it means?   Yes, EMV stands for the 20+ year-old European integrated chip card standard.   As it migrated to the U.S. this acronym played a most curious game—it became the thing.  It, EMV, became synonymous with that thing on a credit card that users need to insert—the chip.   Standards in tow, the Euro crossed the pond to the U.S. and Visa and MasterCard were joined by the other card brands playing at the chip table.  Somehow, the EMV Queen Mary docked in New York harbor and waved a hand shouting “Halloo, We have brought you wondrous shiny things from the homeland.”


It might be time to bring this acronym home! Maybe we would have been better off calling it something with substance like a USAVMDA Chip Card (United States of America Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express Chip Card) instead of EMV.  OK, well, this is a bit lengthy for an acronym but it has a nice rhythm to it—rolls off the tongue like a Snoop Dogg rap; hip, true, and honest.  You got to love acronyms—but metaphors are the real cat’s pajamas!


Metaphors are the DNA of understanding the complex world we inhabit made into an analogy, a like or as phrase that creates a soft cushion reminder of what is truly authentic.  I love metaphors and I am convinced metaphors love me back!  In the payment’s industry in particular, metaphors enliven that DNA like strands of a divine sequence of numbers.  As a SME (Subject Matter Expert) of the MercuryPay’s API (Application Program Interface) documentation, it has always been a struggle not to wax on and into metaphor when, for example, describing the intricacies of an XML or the difference between a void and a reversal.  As we all know, well-formatted XML is like a well-tempered Bach Prelude played meticulously and exactly as written—you cannot miss a note, replace a phrase or stop in the middle without the audience and our processing server throwing a hissy!  Now, a void is like that birthday gift you give your girl friend, but she never wanted a long sleeve angora sweater to take to the Bahamas anyway so she sticks it in the closet never to be seen or worn again; a reversal is the delight in her eyes when you return the sweater, get your money back and let her do her own shopping for that trendy bikini she really wanted.


In our DI day-to-day operationalizing, strategizing and quantifying the integration process, metaphors sometimes play a starring role in how we attempt to capsulize what we do. Metaphors can lighten the intensity and placate anxiety—and the really good ones will set you laughing as they level set a common field of vision.  Metaphors are like that—they are fairy dust and release values at the same time.


Athletic and fitness metaphors are common as are chess games, fly fishing, Special Forces or Black Ops military operations and Dungeons & Dragons.  Sometimes small animals sneak in as well as large man-eating fish, baking, architecture, religion and beer making.  Yes, beer making. We love a well-fermented and balanced brew of payment solutions all frothing with features and packaged in a secure wrapper. Now that’s a tasty POS!


I think you will find acronyms and metaphors a plenty in VantivONE.  They drive the authentic by finding new keys into meaning.  Where acronyms might be more like our tribal drum beats of knowing, metaphors can lift us, TechLift us, to higher places of understanding.


The Next Wave is Here!

Posted by jbevington Aug 8, 2016

The Next Phase of U.S. EMV Receipt Requirements


It was the summer of 2015--the summer of the “Y2K of payments,” as my colleague Zach Kurka, prophetically labeled these Nostradamus of payment times.  We were making the move to be first to market with a new Datacap-Mercury U.S. EMV initiative. EMV was going live over Vantiv’s MercuryPay platform and all hands were on deck to make it happen!


There was scramble, intensity, on-going corrections of the card brand certifications, operational challenges, focus, chaos, confusion and yet, there were iterative high-hope peaks of hopeful success that we held on to like climbing a Colorado 14er—and everywhere, everywhere there was innovation and invention!  


Thanks to Lisa Killigrew, EMV Early Access kits were designed and distributed with everything an ISV needed to dig into EMV—including our first set of U.S. chip cards, a documentation zip-drive, videos plus a stash of chocolates and candy!  Now we’re talking!

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The zip drives included early drafts of EMV specifications, Github code links and preliminary certification scripts.  And there, tucked in among the EMV code bells, chip card whistles and a personal welcome note to the new landscape of payments from Matt Ozvat, was the first, simple draft of U.S. EMV receipt requirements for certification receipt review.  I have to admit, in the spirit of Y2K and Nostradamus, we were channeling a little “Oh Canada” when these early access receipt reviews were created.


Our Canadian EMV Sponsors had taught us well over the years.  Even in the early days of non-chip Canadian debit, a receipt review was a standard staple of certification.  When EMV was adopted in Canada in advance of their own Liability shifts of 2011, our Toronto based EMV sponsors were so thorough and so unwaveringly diligent at defining the rules of Canadian receipt requirements that these do’s and don’t became practically ubiquitous with EMV receipts.  They were u-biq-ui-tous, eh? 


So it was no wonder that the first wave of U.S. EMV receipt requirements emulated what had become a Canadian perspective—that is, receipts should be reviewed for consistency and accuracy as they contain pertinent transaction information for the cardholder, merchant, processor and the issuer that must be correct.  The standard has proven to be spot on and yet, the black and white interpretation of this standard just might be ready for a little 2016 Vantiv ingenuity! 


Outside of Canada, receipt reviews were generally new for us, and until U.S. EMV, even the card brands stayed fairly high level with what they called sales draft best practices with the exceptions of things like truncation for card data and expiration dates.  But in the summer of 2015, with our own liability shift looming, we were at the EMV crossroads—and that meant, for the first time, reviewing receipts. 


I recall reaching out to Ray Moorman, our quintessential and absolute savant on all things EMV, for his advice. 


“Ray, I need to know existing card brand regs for receipt generation—can you send me all that you have?”


“Sure can, but it is all over the map—might be best to use what is coming back from Datacap as it covers all the bases.” 


So what was determined to be our best criteria for accuracy for this first wave of EMV certifications ended up being based on what was already being returned to the POS from the Datacap EMV control in the form of print data. In so many ways, this made so much sense for the developer and our integration consultants—the whole package of print data is included in an XML transaction response data element called <PrintData> with line-by-line receipt details.  Perfect!


The <PrintData> convention was brilliant, even for a one-size-fits-all approach—and it was built right into the dsiEMVUS semi-integrated solution, ready to go.  The bigger win here of course was that the heavy integration lifting, card brand certification and device level interaction was already completed on behalf of the developer and as a result, the POS was abstracted from touching the EMV payment flows.  All that was needed for the ISV was to code to the EMV client control, ask it to send a request to the PINpad, wait for the response and then print the receipt. Brilliant!


Not only was it convenient for a developer to pull, parse and print the merchant and customer receipt—it included this EMV data exactly as the card brands wanted to see it.  And this was a perfect synergy to “receipts should be reviewed for consistency and accuracy as they contain pertinent transaction information for the cardholder, merchant, processor and the issuer that must be correct.” Done! 

  • Format of the receipt? Done!
  • Customer agreement and signature line? Done!
  • Chip entry method, Application Label, and all EMV AID, TVR, IAD, TSI, ARC and CVM? Done!
  • Add the merchant receipt header and footer, pass in PrintData and print! Done! 

When EMV hit the U.S. in a fury pushed by the October 2015 Liability shift, we were prepared to accelerate the certification process thanks to our understanding of the Canadian model and the confidence we placed in Datacap’s dsiEMVUS control response data. Done!


Out of the gate, the Early Access EMV kits and the Datacap PRINT DATA defined receipt requirements as the MercuryPay/Datacap U.S. golden standard, a standard that has continued through the entire first phase of EMV adoption and by which all of the existing EMV certifications over the MercuryPay platform have followed.  Yes, there were some ISV push backs, merchant complaints of wasting paper, creative adoption of various requirements, but, to date, every certified developer/ISV has managed to adapt to and certify to this standard. 


As a reference, here are two examples of the currently established receipt standards for a CVM of Chip and Signature and a CVM of Chip and PIN.  The receipt, all passed to the developer’s POS from the Datacap print data, includes, standard transaction and cardholder details, amounts, cardholder verification and EMV specific application data:

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  Fast Forward, 2016. . .


A year later, and the first wave is behind us.  The Y2K didn’t happen and we are all still here. EMV is here.  Millions of EMV transactions have been processed and millions of receipts have been printed.  Cardholders have learned what to do and clerks can now multitask while reminding customers of how to respond to prompts on their PINpads.  Receipts happened in perfect, golden fashion everywhere!  One of my favorite things to do is to use my chip card all around town and compare receipts—and I marvel as I see just how ubiquitous the standard has become across all merchants accepting chip—regardless if they are processing with us or another company.  I call this a huge success—for EMV, Vantiv, our ISVs and merchant base—and more, this is success that brings with it a responsibility to move to the next level—the next wave!  Because we were so integral to this first wave of EMV adoption in the U.S., because we held tight from our vantage point on that Colorado 14er, because we listened to merchants, resellers and ISVs, we can help make that next gen happen—the next wave of EMV is here! 


As EMV adoption is in a steady ramp-up mode across the U.S., the card brands are coming out with programs and incentives to continue the growth and adoption of chip card usage.  So called “Quick Chip” enhancements, Chargeback limits and easier access with lower costs of direct EMV certification options are being welcomed. Receipt requirements are also going through reconsiderations and here at Vantiv Integrated Payments, we are pleased to share with you the following next wave of card brand receipt requirements. Note that these are minimum card brand requirements and that still the Datacap <PrintData> standard will always be viable, as it will continue to be the most comprehensive set of receipt requirements available.  But as markets, merchants, product and innovation come together to impact these requirements, the card brands and Vantiv are responding accordingly. 


Here is the latest wave of Vantiv minimum receipt requirements, outlined by major card brand.  More details and examples will be forthcoming, but consider this a sneak preview of EMV receipts for the future!


Visa Credit/PIN Debit card present minimum receipt requirements

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Visa requires a completed transaction receipt (paper or electronic) to be provided to a Cardholder for the following:

  • Purchases (magnetic stripe, contact and contactless)
  • Recurring Transactions


Visa requires a completed transaction receipt (paper or electronic) to be provided to a Cardholder, upon the cardholder’s request, for the following:

  • Transactions at Unattended Cardholder Activated Terminals
  • Visa Easy Payment Service Transactions (small ticket)
  • Transactions at Contactless-Only Acceptance Devices


Note:  Electronic signature capture merchants must be able to provide a printed receipt.



MasterCard Credit/PIN Debit card present minimum receipt requirements

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MasterCard requires a completed transaction receipt, whether the transaction is approved or declined, to be provided to a Cardholder, either automatically or upon the Cardholder’s request for all transaction types.


For contactless transactions that specify signature verification, the merchant must generate a receipt to be signed.

A receipt is also required for all contactless transactions following an unsuccessful transaction attempt and the receipt must indicate the response or failure reason.


Note:  Electronic signature capture merchants must be able to provide a printed receipt.



Discover Network Credit card present minimum receipt requirements

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Discover requires a transaction receipt for all transactions except for No Signature Required Card Sales unless one is requested by the cardholder.


Note:  Electronic signature capture merchants must be able to provide a printed receipt.


American Express Credit card present minimum receipt requirements

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Note:  Electronic signature capture merchants must be able to provide a printed receipt.