Contactless EMV: Full course

Become an expert in Contactless EMV transactions, no prerequisites.

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This bundle will give you access to the 3 modules on Contactless EMV transactions.

Contactless payment is accepted just about anywhere these days. The consequence is that there is a growing need for people with strong knowledge of the mechanics of contactless payment. This course was designed to help students who already have some understanding of EMV (from our other course, for instance) enter that space and fill the positions. It used to take months to become proficient with contactless, now it can be done in just 2 days.

Contactless is slightly more complicated than EMV, because the card brands went their separate way to be first on the market with a working solution, and those solutions were later shoehorned into the contactless EMV specifications, with different kernels. But we’re here to help you make sense of all that.

The course starts with a quick recap about the EMV concepts that are needed for this topic, and then it teaches everything you need to know to become proficient with contactless payment transactions, from the ground up. By the time you reach the final chapter, you will be able to troubleshoot failing contactless transactions. And you’ll have our flowchart diagram to guide you in your analysis.

As usual when it comes to card payment, the barrier to entry is higher than it should be, and this is another one of our courses that was created to overcome that. This course is based on my experience of taking many people through this path over the years. They say that you can’t teach experience, and I’m certainly not claiming that, but there are approaches that can be taken to help students form logical paths in their minds. One such approach is PBL (problem-based learning), and this course makes heavy use of that for all the very technical parts, with practical exercises.


The course contains about 8 hours of bite-size videos, split into relevant chapters, and exercises that should take between 14 and 18 hours altogether. You can think of it as a 2-day course with a highly experienced instructor, but more convenient because you can work at your own speed and on your own schedule.

Intended audience

The course was built with the following audience in mind: people who need strong Contactless EMV technical knowledge to be effective and efficient in their work. This includes roles in the following areas:

  • Payment terminal EMV certification
  • Payment terminal integration
  • Payment terminal development or quality assurance
  • Troubleshooting transaction failures for banks or acquirers
  • Chip card issuance
  • Chip card development or quality assurance
  • Consulting in any of the areas above

Unique learning approach

The learning path is one of increasing complexity, with building blocks to construct the EMV knowledge, and practical exercises and quizzes to keep students engaged. The course contains 15 practical exercises with the guided analysis of 50+ transaction logs.

The Contactless EMV Module 1 course starts with a reminder of the EMV notions that are still relevant for contactless, including its transaction flow and how tags, TLV and DOLs work.

The contactless journey then starts, with an introduction on contactless payment and its different outcomes, with a review of the specifications involved and with a quick dive on how it works at a low level. You will also learn about how the different card brands manage their transaction flow. And you will see how EMV tries to create a unique payment experience with display messages, light and audio.

The Contactless EMV Module 2 course starts with a reminder of the cryptographic concepts that are still relevant for contactless, including transaction authorization and offline data authentication. It then introduces and looks into the technicallities of contactless transaction authorization for mag-stripe and EMV modes, and of how fDDA works.

The journey continues with a deep dive into contactless mag-stripe mode, from the high-level concept all the way to the APDUs involved and how terminals retrieve the magstripe track for the online authorization message. This chapter is supplemented with practical exercises.

This module ends with a look at the common elements of contactless EMV mode, introducing the high-level concept, discussing the Cardholder Verification Methods applicable to contactless, and reviewing the kernels' Outcome parameters.

The Contactless EMV Module 3 course starts with a deep dive into the transaction flow and the APDUs for TTQ-driven kernels (VISA, Discover, UnionPay). It looks at the new tags introduced specifically for contactless, which help transactions be processed faster. It explains how CVM selection is performed on those kernels, and how processing restrictions are enforced. It also briefly looks at how issuer scripts can be processed on those kernels.

The course then provides similar coverage of the other kernels (MasterCard, American Express and JCB). The transaction flow and the overall process is different, and the course highlights those differences and takes the student through how the APDUs are used with those kernels to complete transactions.

In the final chapter, the course provides a guided method to perform transaction analysis and troubleshooting, which includes a couple of diagrams that the student can download and print. This method is based on the instructor’s 10-year experience performing such analysis. The course also takes the student through 5 examples of contactless transactions being analysed with those troubleshooting diagrams.

Your Instructor

Herve Zenner
Herve Zenner

I have a passion for helping people reach their full potential. As a strong believer of the concept of sustainable leadership, I can feel the pain of employees who cannot perform at their best because of the difficulty of knowledge transfer. In my previous role in product marketing for a very complex payment simulator, I was faced with bridging this knowledge gap on a regular basis. The payment industry is one where the barrier to entry is high, and it should not be this way because it hinders growth for everyone.

My most prized accomplishment in my career is the development of a formalized payment education program for South Africa, which has seen over a hundred students with IT backgrounds turned into payment experts able to proficiently operate our payment simulator. This was made possible thanks to many other education experiences, technical or process-oriented.

Because I am an INTJ in the Myers-Briggs model, you can be sure that the content of my courses is fully thought-out and takes into consideration all aspects needed to reach the targets. I am really good at putting myself in my students’ shoes, to find the path that will take them from where they are to where they want to be.

Want to know more about my credentials?

During my 10 years of strong, technical experience in the card payment industry, I worked in development and QA for the two leading chip card manufacturers, Gemalto and Oberthur. I also held a position of security analyst for EMV products in a lab, which provided a deep understanding of the internal working of payment cards.

My longest position was with Acquirer Systems, a small company which created the best, and most complete, payment simulator on the market (it now belongs to UL). During that time, I held just about every position that there is to fill in a small company, doing software development, QA, customer support, then moving to consulting, pre-sales and education. I built a complete library of deep, technical knowledge in all aspects of card payment transactions, from the card in your pocket to the authorization by the banks.

I am also fully qualified for the positions I have held until now, and fully prepared for the challenges of the future. I hold an MSc in engineering from a French college, and an Executive MBA from Trinity College Dublin.

Watch the presentation video for the 3-module course!

Courses Included with Purchase

Contactless EMV: Module 1 - Beginner
Get a reminder for how EMV work and learn the basics of contactless payment.
Herve Zenner
Contactless EMV: Module 2 - Advanced
Learn about cryptography for contactless, magstripe mode and the common elements of EMV mode.
Herve Zenner
Contactless EMV: Module 3 - Expert
Take a deep dive into the transaction flow and the EMV mode APDUs for the different kernels.
Herve Zenner

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