1. Development of China Financial IC Card Specifications
As a financial means of payment developed with integrated circuit technologies according to financial industry standards, financial IC cards are widely used for consumption credit, transfer and settlement, cash deposit and withdrawal, etc. Since its appearance in France in the mid-1980s, financial IC card had been gradually applied to social and economic activities. China started the development of financial IC cards relatively early and the People’s Bank of China (PBC) enacted China Financial IC Card V1.0 Specification (PBOC1.0) and organized the united pilot in 1997. The promulgation and implementation of PBOC1.0 indicated the unification of China’s financial IC cards and laid the foundation for the construction of national unified IC card technology system.
To cope with the liability shift of international EMV, PBC issued the China Financial IC Card Specification (2005) (PBOC2.0) in March 2005. PBOC2.0 extended the electronic purse/electronic deposit functions of the PBOC1.0 to debit/credit applications, and preliminarily made clear the application-independent contactless technical route, providing the technical solution to the smooth transition from magnetic strip card to financial IC card and paving way for preparatory transformation and acceptance of finance terminals.
In light of the feedback from pilot application of financial IC cards in Ningbo of Zhejiang Province, to further meet the public requirements for fast and safe small-amount payments, PBC enacted and implemented PBOC2.0 (2010) in May 2010. Completely in conformity with the original debit/credit applications, PBOC2.0 (2010) demonstrated very practical performance in support of contactless and low-value payment applications.
2. Background for Upgrading to PBOC3.0
On March 15, 2011, PBC released the Opinion on Advancing Application of Financial IC Card (the Opinion for short), deciding to officially launch the liability shift of bank card chips nationwide and fully promote the application of financial IC cards during the 12th Five-Year Plan period(2011-2015). Ever since the full-wing implementation of this initiative, impressive developmental momentum has been observed in all work: financial IC cards are applicable to all ATM, POS machine and other terminals; up to 126 million financial IC cards have been issued by the end of 2012; financial IC cards are rapidly popularized in the public service fields; various kinds of applications and new requirements on the basis of financial IC card constantly spring up. To comprehensively support the application of financial IC card in the public services field and cater to the current application requirements of financial IC card in multiple fields, PBC started the third upgrading of the PBOC specifications, mainly to meeting the following needs:
1) Industrial expansion. The specifications are upgraded to cater to the industrial needs for such functions as payments of time-sharing and segment charge and suspension of electronic cash, etc., and to promote the application of financial IC cards in the public service areas including high-speed rail, public transport, metro and so on.
2)Innovative payment. The specifications are upgraded to realize the integration of financial IC card application with internet payment, mobile payment and other innovative payments, to advance the fusion of online and offline channels.
3) Cross-border utilization The specifications are upgraded to meet the requirements of domestic cardholders for cross-border e-cash payments with financial IC cards, especially in Hong Kong and Macao.
3. Main Content of PBOC3.0
3.1 Main content of PBOC2.0 (2010)
PBOC2.0 (2010) includes altogether 13 sections in its content: The electronic purse/electronic deposit application specification defined in Part 1 and Part 2 has been developed on the basis of PBOC1.0, which together with the e-wallet extended application in Part 9 constitute the electronic purse/electronic deposit application specifications. Part 3 describes the contact interface specifications developed mainly according to ISO/IEC 7816 while referring to international standards including ISO 3166, ISO 639, ISO 9362, ISO 13616, ISO 7811, ISO/IEC 10373 and ISO/IEC 8859, which may be combined with the electronic purse/electronic deposit, or debit/credit applications to develop electronic purse/electronic deposit or debit/credit products with contact interface.
The content from Part 4 to Part 7 focuses on the debit/credit applications, which is accomplished mainly according to the EMV standard while referring to international standards such as ISO/IEC 7861, ISO 3166, ISO/IEC 639, ISO 4217, ISO 9564, ISO 8583, ISO 13491, ISO 8731, ISO 8732, ISO/IEC 9796, ISO/IEC 9797, ISO/IEC 10116 and ISO/IEC 8859, etc. Part 8 describes the contactless interface specifications based on but not equivalent to ISO 14443, defining the application-independent contactless interface which may be combined with electronic purse/electronic deposit or debit/credit applications to develop electronic purse/electronic deposit or debit/credit products with contactless interface. Part 10 is developed by referring to the EMV General Personalized Specification, defining the personalization of debit/credit application, data forms and grouping, and standardizing the process.
Part 11, developed on the basis of Part 8, stipulate in detail the requirements related to wireless communication agreement between contactless equipment and contactless card. Part 12, together with Part 8 and Part11, constitute the specification of contactless applications, defining the financial payment application based on contactless interface. Part 13, with Part 4, 5, 6 and 7, collectively specifies low-value payment specifications based on debit/credit application, mainly defining the content related to low-value payment, namely, the technology realization of low-value payment and supported transaction type, etc.
3.2 Main content of the Upgrade to PBOC3.0
PBOC3.0 is supplemented and revised on the basis of PBOC2.0 (2010), as shown in the following diagram:
Diagram 1: Amendment to financial IC card standards in 2012
The supplementation to the PBOC specifications is reflected in following 4 aspects: First, adding Comprehensive application specification based on contactless low-value payment application in order to meet requirements of applying financial IC card in public services like bus, subway, high-speed railway, etc.; Second, supplementing Electronic cash dual-currency payment specification to solve problems of domestic cardholders with payment in Hong Kong and Macao; Third, adding IC card internet terminal specification to meet application requirements of innovative payments such as financial IC card internet payment and mobile payment, and integrate the online and offline channels; Fourth, adding Enhanced debit/credit application security specification to ensure the security of financial transactions.
The revision of PBOC specifications is reflected in following 5 aspects: First, remove inapplicable contents, for example, Specification for Electronic Purse/Electronic Deposit Application and Extended Application as EP/ED applications are withdrawing from the market; Second, in view of the development trend of current advanced technology and application of main-stream standards, supplement and complete relevant standards, especially staying abreast with international specifications such as EMV and ISO; Third, perfect existing specifications based on the requirements of current new business, such as in-card loading logs and qPBOC transaction log s in quick low-value payment applications, and add relevant content into the standards; Fourth, strengthen the operability of standards by specifying compatibility problems encountered in the use and testing. Fifth, make clear ambiguous and insufficient content in the original standards, for instance, specifying situations in which transaction may or may not be stopped in the terminal specifications.
4. Relationship between Financial IC Card Specification and Other Specifications
As the core specification of bank card standards, China Financial IC Card Specification established the bank card standards system framework together with other bank card specifications, as shown below:
Diagram 2: Relational graph of the standards system framework
The PBOC Specification as the link connects with the preceding in the whole bank card standards system framework: First, it abides by the JR/T 0052 Bank Card Specification, sets requirements related to the contact chip card, such as chip module height, size and location of touching point, and distribution of touching points in Part 3, and specify requirements for contactless chip card in Part 8; Second, it follows the information format definition of bank card magnetic strip in GB/T 19584-2010 Specification for Bank Card Magnetic Strip Information Format and Application, and defines the data elements related to magnetic track in Part 5.
The PBOC Specification also connects the following in the whole bank card standards system framework: First, it provides technical requirements and test references for inspection on debit/credit card, terminal and personalized application, etc. And testing specifications for financial IC card should follow the PBOC Specification; Second, in terms of specification for bank card terminals, it puts forward basic technical requirements; Third, as to Technical Specification on Bankcard Interoperability, it BOC defines basic information data elements of IC cards for domain 23 (card serial number) and domain 55 (IC card data based on PBOC debit/credit standard) in financial messages.
In addition, the PBOC Specification, as the core bankcard standard of in the domestic financial industry, is compatible on Level 1 with other card standards such as standards for social security card and residents health card.
In view of the development of international standards, the EMV standards serve as framework technical standards based on which various bank card organizations developed their own technical standards respectively for implementation. Also based on the EMV framework, China Financial Integrated Circuit Card Specification defines the PBOC debit/credit applications.
(From China Standardization May/June 2013)