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Written by Fabrice Grenier
News
03.16.2021

Growing Acquirer Demand for Universal Standards in Global Payment Acceptance

Card based payments are booming with the new global pandemic. In particular NFC or contactless which is deploying at a fast pace, in all regions on both the issuing and acceptance sides of the market.

This push in acceptance solution updates remains a challenge with the important constraints our industry imposes to the device manufacturers and solution implementers. The lack of structuring (i.e. proper standards) is extremely costly with the multiplication of international and domestic Contactless EMV Level 2 Kernels required to support global and local schemes, the lack of proper EMVCo standards within the Level 2 domain (no EntryPoint-Kernel standard interface; no interface define between the EMV Level 2 stack and the payment application; no definition of the payment application domain).

This situation generates a huge number of custom developments and related certifications, with a strong impact on each new product time to market and price, to the benefit of a few dominant organizations controlling the market, and a limited non differentiating offering. EMV standards adoption and Contactless payment acceptance could have been introduced at a fragment of the cost of proper standardization and software interoperability had existed, removing most of the hurdles.

Additionally, all payment solutions require a specific payment application (aka Level 3, never defined) that corresponds to the core payment function process, host protocol interface, Sales system interface, TMS interface, UI and UX to name only the main functions, which almost always remain specific to a card acceptance product, Acquirer or Processor, region or market segment.  These payment solutions rely either on domestic or proprietary protocols. Lack of standards also introduces friction from the customer journey and creates tremendous pains as they increase project complexity and time to market.

Emerging nexo/ISO 20022 Standards introduces interoperability, with Strong Benefits for all parties!

In a post-pandemic expanding world, banks and acquirers will continue to follow their customers outside of their home countries. Nexo will allow them to do it without having to un-necessarily perform custom developments, re-test or re-certify. nexo introduces the missing interoperability levels between the sale domain (POS) and payment domain (POI), between the payment application and the processing host, introducing a standard TMS server and protocol to manage multi vendor payment terminals, with a standardized payment application, usable in any country, and following a coherent user experience anywhere. A true revolution for the payments industry, still organized as if we were processing magnetic stripe cards transactions.

nexo standards (www.nexo-standards.org) was designed by international payment industry actors from all over the world and is not specific to any regions, even though Europe was the first to have it recognized by the European Payment Council to promote a Single European Payment Area, in contrast to the past custom requirements of each European countries. In 2020 we have seen the first nexo protocol deployment deployments in the US and the Middle East.

nexo specifications are supporting all existing payment services and schemes in a unique application. Protocols are standardized for communications with Retailers, Acquirers, and Terminal Management Systems, and most payment network requirements at the Point of Interaction can be handled remotely by a universal Terminal Management System.

Arkos, by Amadis, Is the first universal payment acceptance solution

Arkos is an Open & Universal payment acceptance software solution that deploys into any topology, whatever the context and the constraints (operational, environment, system architecture, devices), with a minimum of adaptations and reducing cost and risk for both acquirers and their merchants.  Relying on abstraction layers, Arkos is platform-agnostic to serve secure payment acceptance on any device and any OS. It is scalable and easily customizable because of its flexible architecture and open interfaces. Arkos is installed on a wide range of systems, from the simplest of payment terminals to the most complex server-based payment acceptance systems, and its framework enables end-user customization of the User Interface and Business Logic thru simple APIs that communicate with other nexo compliant systems. 

Global acquirers and mass merchants are seeing more nexo/ISO 20022 compliant solutions deployed than ever before.  No longer a secret, frequently, stakeholders are now telling their stories about nexo and how they differentiate and offer a better customer journey, while greatly reducing their time to market and operational costs.

Written by Fabrice Grenier

Fabrice is an authority on information technology and payments, with over 25 years international business experience in highly competitive markets, with a focus on banking, financial services and retail sectors. He is also the inventor of several patents.

Fabrice has held a number of executive and leadership positions at Thales (formerly Gemalto). Most recently, he was in charge of Business Development & Operational Marketing, where he was responsible for several regions including Russia, CIS, Saudi, Levant countries, West & Central Africa.

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