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EMV® Contactless Kernel: Advancing Global Contactless Acceptance

May 9, 2022

Today, the industry organization EMVCo announced the development of an EMV® Contactless Kernel Specification¹. This new specification creates an industry standard for contactless kernels and will make it easier for merchants to accept contactless payments.

The kernel is core software for payment terminals that simplifies the adoption of Tap to Pay as merchants’ terminals will be ready to accept contactless payments from American Express Card Members without loading a dedicated American Express kernel. The kernel also offers increased security and data privacy protection, as well as new features and more control over transactions for issuers.

“This new EMV Contactless Kernel Specification creates new opportunities for merchants, POS terminal vendors, and domestic payment systems to simplify acceptance, reduce costs, increase speed to market, and innovate,” said Matthew Robinson, EVP/GM, Network and Acquiring Solutions, American Express. “American Express is committed to adopting and supporting the specification over a multi-year transition as it encourages cloud innovation and advances seamless and secure contactless payments globally.”

This announcement is a major step forward in reducing the number of contactless kernels that need to be supported globally today. EMVCo aims to release the final specification later in 2022.  

¹ EMV® is a registered trademark in the U.S. and other countries and an unregistered trademark elsewhere. The EMV trademark is owned by EMVCo, LLC.



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Becca Hare Moomjian

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