The CEPS Group (Europay International, Visa Espana/SERMEPA, Visa International and ZKA) announced last week that specifications to enable the world’s electronic purse programs to work together will be published on 30 December. The development of the Common Electronic Purse Specifications (CEPS) is a major step forward in creating an open, global standard for the electronic purse and will help to further the growth of smart cards world- wide.
The CEPS Group involved in the development of the Specifications will make them available to security labs for review. Once the evaluation period is complete on January 31, 1999, a final version of the Specifications will be made public. As most of the electronic purse developments are taking place in Europe, input from European institutions, including ECBS (European Committee for Banking Standards), has been instrumental in establishing the Specifications. Consequently, it is anticipated that the first programs to migrate will be in Europe where the introduction of the euro is an additional driver behind the need for a common standard. Once implemented, CEPS will enable cardholders to use their electronic purse cards both at home and abroad.
Organisations from 22 countries, representing more than 90 per cent of the world’s electronic purse cards have agreed to implement the CEPS standard. These include Visa International, Visa Espana/SERMEPA, ZKA, Europay International, Proton World International, SSB in Italy, NETS in Singapore, the Swedish banks supporting the ‘Cash’ purse scheme, and Europay Austria. Groupement des Cartes Bancaires is also committed to this initiative and to becoming an active member of the CEPS Group.
CEPS defines the requirements needed by an organisation to implement a globally interoperable electronic purse program. It requires compatibility with the EMV Specifications for chip cards and defines the card application, the card-to- terminal interface, the terminal application for point-of-sale and load transactions, data elements and recommended message formats for transaction processing. It also provides functional requirements for the various electronic purse scheme participants and uses public key cryptography for enhanced security.
The effort to create a common standard for the electronic purse has gained considerable momentum since the public announcement in June that the world’s largest purse operators had created a working group to develop industry- wide, open specifications. CEPS is the realisation of these efforts.Details