Payment Certification: A Member's Perspective

Steve Gilde July 11, 2022

As a client or member of a payment network, your organization has a responsibility to correctly format, send and receive messages to and from the network so that your customer’s payment transactions get processed, quickly, correctly and securely, every second of every day.

With all of the change taking place within the payment industry, the need for an efficient certification process has never been more important - or more complex. The TR-31 Key Block mandate is a perfect example of an industry wide change that is specifically targeted at protecting the integrity of transactions and reducing fraud. 

Unfortunately, the TR-31 mandate also highlights the complexity involved in the certification process as card brands and networks all roll-out their TR-31 implementations on different timelines. And despite the fact that financial messages for virtually every network are based on the ISO 8583 standard, every network has its own unique way of handling the TR-31 Key Blocks. 

There can be no doubt that the certification process plays a significant role in protecting the retail payment industry for all stakeholders, including the consumer. However, it must be noted that the process is clearly under the control of the card brands and networks, with rules and requirements flowing downhill through processors and ultimately to individual issuers, acquirers, and retailers at the end of the line. 

And the rules must be followed. Failure to do so can carry a number of very negative impacts including, higher interchange rates, increased chargebacks, fines or penalties, and for the most serious offenses, a network may even refuse to accept transactions from the member.

Given the important role that certification plays in protecting the payment industry, one might assume that the process is always well documented, highly efficient, and extremely accurate. And while this may be true in some cases, far too often the processes are actually very manual, very slow, and not very accurate.

Why you need automated tools

Given the importance and complexity of the certification effort - especially when multiple payment networks are involved - along with the reality that management of the process is totally outside your control - you should use all of the resources at your disposal to ensure that your organization is always ready and well prepared when it comes time to certify.

Using modern test tools and simulators, such as Web FASTest, that support the latest card scheme and network mandates to “pre-certify'' means that you can use automation to minimize the amount of time and effort and cost required when it is time to certify. Once your pre-certification environment is set-up, your teams can use a single user interface to share cards and scripts to run and re-run tests 24x7 from any location without having to worry about connecting to the network.

By using technology like Web FASTest to pre-certify, your organization and reclaim some control over the certification process and realize a number of benefits, including:

  • Increased staff collaboration and efficiency
  • Reduced cost and complexity 
  • Improved quality and accuracy 
  • Faster certification timeframes
  • The best payment experience for your customers

Interested in learning more about how Paragon helps clients accelerate certification testing and save money with their certification testing processes? Get in touch with us today

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