Korea has opened its first EMV smart card center in Seoul to test and approve chip-based terminals and software for compliance with EMV standards. The center, the second in Asia, is being operated by ICTK Ltd and has been accredited by EMVCo, the international organization for the authorization of smart card standards and products.
The new testing facility has been established to support the region’s rapid smart card growth and to increase convenience for smart card companies in Korea and other Asia Pacific countries seeking EMV product approval. EMV, short for Europay-MasterCard-Visa, is a set of global standards developed to support payment transactions between smart cards and terminals. Smart cards are chip embedded cards which are replacing the use of magnetic stripe cards in the payment industry.
The Korean ICTK Center brings to seven the number of smart card test centers around the world. There is already one in Japan and five in Europe.
ICTK’s Product Certification Team Manager Jun Jung-ho said, “Korean companies used to go abroad to seek EMV authorization. This was costly in terms of time and money. Korean engineers also faced communication difficulties with foreign engineers. This new center will solve those problems and the cost savings will strengthen the competitive power of the Korean industry and lead to increased exports. We also expect Southeast Asian companies to request testing in Korea.”
Visa Asia Pacific Head of Chip Products David Chan said, “The new testing facility will increase the readiness of vendors, terminal manufacturers and our members in their migration plans from magnetic stripe cards to EMV smart cards. With closer proximity and convenience for Asian vendors, we expect to see even more EMV-compliant smart card products in Korean and around the region.”
Visa Asia Pacific has established an aggressive timeline to migrate cards and infrastructure to EMV standards and has put in place a series of initiatives to drive chip migration. Chan said he expects the number of Visa terminals in Asia Pacific to reach 80 000 by the end of 2002, and the number of smart cards to double to 11 million with Japan, Taiwan, Korea and Australia contributing the majority of the growth.
Visa International is one of the co-founders of EMVCo (www.emvco.com), which was formed in February 1999 to manage, maintain and enhance the EMV smart card specifications for payment systems. Chip-based terminals and software tested and approved at the official EMV test center will receive EMVCo certification.
By working with a set of common specifications regardless of manufacturer, financial institution or location, EMV ensures that smart cards can be accepted by EMV-terminals anywhere in the world.
Visa is the world’s leading payment brand. Visa-branded cards generate more than US$2 trillion in annual volume worldwide and are accepted at more than 27 million merchant locations around the world, including more than 750,000 automated teller machines. Visa is a leader in Internet payment and electronic commerce, with more than 50 percent of electronic transactions being made with Visa cards.
Visa Asia Pacific
In Asia Pacific, Visa has a greater market share than all other brands combined with more than 56 percent of retail sales volume. During 2001, a total of US$480 billion was spent in Asia Pacific using Visa cards, a growth of 70 percent over the previous year. Visa Asia Pacific’s Internet address is [www.visa-asia.com].