Fintechs are increasingly adding card-based payment capabilities to their products as part of their customer value proposition or to enable business processes that support their product offerings. However, card issuing is complex. Fintechs issuing cards often suffer delays and problems leading to a significant loss of revenue due to the complexities of working with EMV card technology. By leveraging our experience, Consult Hyperion can ensure that cards are issued correctly, and costly delays are avoided.

Hundreds of data elements to manage

The chips on modern payment cards contain an EMV application that plays a significant role in transaction authorisation and cardholder authentication. These applications contain hundreds of data elements, combined into a profile, that are used to determine how the payment card works, how it is secured and how payment risk is managed. If even one of these is set incorrectly, it can cause catastrophic transaction failures resulting in delays to implementations, significant customer dissatisfaction and the need for a costly reissue of cards.

Lots of data reside in an EMV card application

What are the challenges in payment card issuing?

Despite the payment networks having processes in place to help issuers configure the data elements, navigating these, requires a low-level understanding of EMV technology that many issuers will not have. Critically, even when these processes are completed and if the cards are successfully validated, this only means that the cards are compliant with the payment networks’ standards, not that they will work correctly with your issuer processing solution or that they satisfy your specific requirements.

The task of producing cards is usually outsourced to a personalisation bureau, and they may also define the EMV profile for an issuer. However, instructing the bureau of the requirements for your cards is complex and requires expert knowledge of EMV and the card personalisation process, to ensure that your requirements are fulfilled. Once a profile has been agreed with the personalisation bureau, they will produce several artefacts defining how their solution will work.  These will cover how keys are managed and sourced, how the personalisation data file is handled, and how the personalisation data is sourced and derived.  These artefacts must all be signed off, but without expert knowledge of EMV and card personalisation, how can you determine whether the specifications from the personalisation bureau fulfil your requirements.

Once the personalisation bureau’s specifications have been signed off, they will be implemented, and test cards will be created.  It is critical that these are validated to ensure that the profile and the encryption keys have been correctly loaded onto the cards, the cards fulfil your requirements of them and that the cards conform to the payment network’s standards to ensure that the cards will pass validation.

However, as some issuer processors do not have the ability to test sample cards, errors are often only discovered once live cards have been issued.  Consequently, any changes required to fix cards may result in significant delays as personalisation bureau scripts may have to be updated and payment network validation repeated. It makes complete sense that Fintechs would want to add card payments to their products, but this can be more challenging than you might expect.

Automated card testing

We are here to help you. You can count on our expertise.

Consult Hyperion can help you avoid the pitfalls present in setting up an EMV card issuing program. We have a huge amount of EMV issuing technical experience and have developed EMV profiles issued on millions of cards for banks around the world. By leveraging our experience across multiple markets and product types, we can provide the following support:

  • Develop profiles that are robust and support your requirements.
  • Help you navigate payment network validation programs and complete questionnaires on your behalf.
  • Work with personalisation bureaus and review personalisation bureau designs artifacts.
  • Test sample cards and validate that settings are correct and that cryptographic functions are performing as required.
  • Resolve errors and problems.
  • Mitigate the risk of incorrectly functioning cards being issued, saving you time and money.

Card issuing process

Contact us

By supporting you in your EMV card issuing program, Consult Hyperion can help you avoid problems and ensure that your card issuing program gets off to a successful start. Contact us for a no obligation conversation.


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