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How do you replace physical cards in EMV Level 3 testing?

April 28, 2023

What do you do when you want to do EMV Level 3 testing and certification of your terminals?

You buy a test tool, which comes along with a bunch of physical test cards that you use for your testing – both contact and contactless test cards.

This is a massively cumbersome process for the test tool vendors to ship the product dongle along with a large number of test cards covering all test cases.

You will also have to maintain an inventory of these cards. Besides, if there are any defective cards, you will have to replace them, which is time-consuming.

Alternatively, the tool vendor provides programmable cards and a soft card library. Here, you are dependent on readers to program and capture the logs. This dependency can hurt your testing and certification.

How do you get out of this cumbersome process?

This is where card personalization and simulation using a mobile app come into play. With this, you can avoid sending physical test cards and hardware dependency. Once you remove this dependence, you can efficiently perform your Level 3 testing across payment schemes.

Card personalization and simulation

The idea is to use an Android phone as the test card. You download the mobile application and use it to personalize the card. Tap the phone to the terminal to process E2E certification test cases. This is called App Card Personalization. For contactless transactions, you can directly tap the phone to the terminal.

What do you do for contact transactions?

Tap a physical card on the Android phone to load the profile onto the test card using NFC technology. Here, you tap the card on the phone and personalize it so that the card can be used to tap on the terminal to process E2E certification test cases. This is called App Card Simulation.

You only need a mobile application to store card profiles, personalize, and simulate app cards.

Once the testing is done, your test tool can access and analyze the logs from the mobile app to validate the results and provide the certification.

Imagine having your test tool on the cloud; that would ease your testing tremendously. We would take that up separately as another blog on cloud delivery of test tools.


We come across many use cases like smart ticketing and low-value payments where only contactless readers are used and not dual-interface readers.

In these scenarios, testing becomes very simple as your mobile app can function as the card and log-capturing app. You don’t have to simulate the cards at all.

NFC-enabled devices are driving innovation in payment testing and certification. With these applications, you can reduce plastic and carbon footprint. This is only the tip of the iceberg with NFC-enabled devices, and many more use cases can be imagined with the power of NFC.

Once the vendor onboards, they can start testing immediately, removing the issues of sending physical test cards to them to begin testing. They can download the app and start the process of testing.

It reduces Level 3 certification timelines and makes the vendors and members happier.

We deliver tremendous value by implementing these solutions for many of our customers. Hit us up if you want to have a conversation about this.

Karthik Gowrishankar

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