Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA)

EMVCo's Role in the Single Euro Payments Area
Frequently Asked Questions

The Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) is an initiative coordinated by the European Payments Council (EPC) to harmonise payment systems across the European Union (EU) Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway and Switzerland.  The aim is to create an integrated and fully functioning single payment infrastructure that will enable Euro payments to be made across Europe as efficiently and securely as they are within national markets today.

Although a range of initiatives are being implemented, the following information focuses on payment cards and the SEPA Cards Framework as deployed by banks, card schemes and card processors.  The SEPA Cards Framework requires EMV chip payment cards to be issued in all SEPA countries, and all point-of-sale terminals and ATMs to be EMV Chip enabled.

  1. What benefits do the EMV Specifications offer to SEPA?
  2. Why has the EPC incorporated EMV Specifications into the SEPA Card Framework?
  3. What is the relationship between EMVCo and the EPC?
  4. How will the EMVCo standard develop long-term to support SEPA?
  5. Who is responsible for developing the EMV standard?
  6. How can I become involved in EMVCo?
  1. What benefits do the EMV Specifications offer to SEPA?

    EMVCo's primary role is to facilitate the worldwide interoperability and acceptance of secure payment transactions by managing and evolving the EMV Specifications and related testing processes. Specifically, the technology used during an EMV Chip Transaction offers many potential benefits and cost efficiencies. For example, EMV Chip transactions support; both offline and online transactions, the use of cryptography to secure transactions, multiple methods for verifying the cardholder, and each issuer is permitted to customise the issuer-to-card protocols within the EMV framework and Card Scheme rules. The EMVCo specifications and supporting technical documents are freely available to the payments industry.

    The EPC has included EMV compliance for cards and terminals as a requirement for issuers and acquirers to comply with the SEPA Cards Framework.

  2. Why has the EPC incorporated EMV Specifications into the SEPA Card Framework?

    Please consult with the EPC. EMVCo hopes that the EPC's incorporation of the EMV Specifications into the SEPA Card Framework will help facilitate global interoperability of SEPA-compliant products.

  3. What is the relationship between EMVCo and the EPC?

    The EPC is presently on EMVCo's Board of Advisors, which consists of banks and national bodies representing the financial industry. This important group provides an advisory forum, which enables EMVCo’s Executive Committee to discuss EMV strategic issues, planned enhancements to the EMV Specifications and new services with banks and/or national bodies involved in chip card deployment. This structure provides a two-way communication link between EMVCo and the industry to help the EMV Specifications work in tandem with regional market needs. The Board of Advisors, which plays a crucial role in shaping EMVCo's strategy, represents a regionally diverse group; the participants represent countries across Europe, North America, Latin America, Asia Pacific, Africa and the Middle East.

  4. How will EMV chip standards develop long-term to support SEPA?

    EMVCo intends to advance its work by investing time and resources to enhance the EMV Chip Specifications, with a goal of long-term interoperability and acceptance of payment system integrated circuit cards. The EPC, and other European representatives on the Board of Advisors, have an established channel of communication with EMVCo to outline European market requirements and technology updates.

    EMVCo also acknowledges that as markets converge and new business models are established, many new compatibility challenges need to be addressed which require additional expertise and resources. It has therefore established new work initiatives with other relevant industry organisations across a variety of market sectors. For example, in the area of mobile payment EMVCo liaises with related technical and industry associations such as Global Platform and the GSMA to efficiently develop standards.

  5. Who is responsible for developing the EMV standards?

    The EMVCo owner members are American Express, Discover, JCB, MasterCard, UnionPay and Visa. Each of these organisations owns an equal share of EMVCo and has representatives in the organisation at the management and working group levels. All decisions are made on a consensus basis among the member organisations.
    To view further details regarding the organisational structure of EMVCo click here

    In addition to this, EMVCo facilitates stakeholder involvement through working partnerships with industry associations as well as operating an Associates Programme and Subscriber service.  This initiative provides the opportunity for any interested party to actively monitor and participate in EMVCo as described elsewhere in this FAQ and on the Subscriber page, as well as attend an annual EMV User Group meeting which offers a platform for industry discussion between interested parties and EMVCo.

  6. How can I become involved in EMVCo?

    Registering as an Associate or Subscriber will entitle you to attend the annual EMV User Group meeting which provides an open forum to comment on EMVCo's evolving technology

    Click here to find out more and register for the EMVCo Associate Programme or Subscriber service. For further information on SEPA, please click here.

    If you have an EMVCo enquiry, please Contact Us.

    If you are a journalist and have a media enquiry, please contact EMVCo's PR agency.