Like every other POS provider in the United States, NCR found itself in 2014 facing an upcoming EMV liability shift that had many of its merchants in a state of panic. Mark Critchett, product management director, small business division for NCR Corp. recalls the pressure felt industry-wide to get technology in place that would enable EMV payments. For NCR, that meant addressing EMV for both its NCR Silver and NCR Silver Pro Restaurant Edition software.
“At the time, EMV in the U.S. was a confusing puzzle that few knew how to solve,” he says.
“We initially considered trying to handle EMV internally, but quickly decided to strategically bring in a partner with the niche EMV experience to help us.” It was then, in late 2014, that NCR began to evaluate potential payment partners.
Once the EMV project began, Creditcall provided ChipDNA, an SDK (software development kit) for both Android and iOS, that NCR could then integrate into NCR Silver. With regular and Pro versions of NCR Silver, this meant addressing integration for four different products.
“There was a fairly steep learning curve for the SDK integration,” recalls Critchett. “There were a number of issues that arose in ensuring that the device could work with the software and tablet hardware. Any time you’re bringing a new product to market, every week we were learning something new.” Creditcall helped educate NCR on EMV, and NCR helped educate Creditcall on some of the unique needs of POS software.
Throughout the process, Critchett says Creditcall was very responsive. In fact, Critchett says Creditcall placed developers and project managers on location at NCR to help with the development and answer questions as they arose. “We matured into having a very open and collaborative relationship,” he says. “The integration was complex so we had plenty of bumps along the way, but in the end, it was extremely collaborative. They were accommodating at every step to meet our needs in as timely a manner as we asked.”
As NCR was evaluating partners, Critchett says one of the most important criteria was experience. “EMV was new to many of the payment companies in the U.S.,” he says. “We wanted a partner with experience and a proven solution. It made sense to look outside the U.S. to companies that already had years of experience.”
Additionally, NCR wanted a partner that was willing to develop and/or modify its solution to meet NCR’s specific needs with NCR Silver and how the software functioned. “EMV requires so many puzzle pieces to come together to get to a complete solution,” explains Critchett. “You need a partner who is willing to work with you, and you with them.”
Also, Critchett says that the way NCR Silver goes to market, merchants aren’t forced or locked into using any one processor. Rather, the company is processor-agnostic and gives merchants the ability to keep their existing processing relationships when bringing on NCR Silver. Therefore, NCR sought a partner that could handle numerous processors and certifications.
With all these factors in mind, NCR selected Creditcall, an omni-channel payment gateway and EMV kernel (a set of functions that provides all the necessary processing logic and data that is required to perform an EMV contact or contactless transaction) provider, as the best choice to address EMV. Not only could Creditcall address the previously mentioned challenges, but the company provided another significant benefit. It offered NCR a ready-made solution — its payment gateway plus a Miura payment terminal that were already a proven working combination. “We didn’t need to put those pieces of the puzzle together; they had already done that for us,” explains Critchett. “There are plenty of payment companies with gateways, but what they didn’t have was a full and complete solution like Creditcall could provide to us immediately.”
Upon integration, Creditcall’s payment gateway SDK, ChipDNA, allows the NCR Silver software to communicate with the Miura M010 PIN pad, and the terminal to then send transactions through to the Creditcall gateway. All transactions are secured by the “holy trinity” of payment security standards — tokenization, P2PE, and EMV.
When it came time for certification, both NCR and Creditcall had established relationships with payment companies that helped the process. Jointly, the two companies navigated the uniqueness of each certification. “Most gateways today are just working through or discovering certification complexities for themselves,” says Critchett. “For a multi-acquirer gateway, I have to imagine that Creditcall is ahead of its competitors. I’m not aware of any of NCR Silver’s competitors in the POS space that have the depth of processor certifications that we have.” Critchett goes on to explain that NCR has POS competitors that only have to certify to themselves. When you have to certify to multiple processors, it’s infinitely more complex and challenging.
The goal heading into the project was to move as quickly as possible to address the liability shift with an initial certification with First Data. This was completed by Dec. 2015. In the time since, NCR and Creditcall have added certifications for Elavon, World Pay, Heartland, TSYS, and Chase Paymentech and will very shortly add contactless certification to their omni-channel offering.
Critchett also says Creditcall is working with NCR to deliver remote key injection (RKI) to new NCR Silver users. Ultimately, this will create a more effective and cost-efficient process for NCR as it deploys units to customers. It will also make the onboarding and setup for merchants much easier. “With this functionality, customers can be sent a new ‘blank’ terminal and the encryption key can be remotely and securely sent to it,” he explains. “Today, devices must be configured at a secure key injection facility and then sent to the customer. This new method will eliminate a shipping step, simplify the process, reduce potential errors, and cost us less.”
In addition to addressing these needs, Creditcall is helping NCR with its international expansion. “As we look at our long-term growth and expansion strategies, we see Creditcall as a long-term partner to help us in new markets,” says Critchett. “With Creditcall’s help, we should have a fully-integrated payments solution in the U.K. in Q1 2017.
Faced with the looming EMV liability shift, NCR had two versions of its Silver POS product requiring EMV payment support.
ChipDNA SDK, Remote Key Injection
Through collaborative efforts, NCR Silver now supports EMV payments via a variety of processors.