test and development software, has today unveiled POS Simulator, a new tool
that builds on the company's proven expertise in ATM test and development, to automate testing for point of sale (POS) terminals. POS Simulator provides desktop testing facilities for banking institutions, card issuers and terminal acquirers, simplifying the introduction of new POS technologies, including vendor application upgrades, and reducing the cost of labour-intensive manual testing.
Level Four's POS Simulator enables fully flexible and user-friendly testing for any kind of Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) via a POS terminal with support for magnetic stripe cards and online or offline Europay, Mastercard, Visa (EMV) transactions. Level Four's award-winning EMV FastTrack module is incorporated into POS Simulator, to create an end-to-end testing tool from smart card to host authorisation.
Using the benefits of EMV, many banks and card issuers are now choosing to introduce a greater variety of cards. New applications can be added to a single card and a greater choice of card authorisation parameters are available. The complexity of EMV card personalisation and interaction with multiple types of online and offline POS terminals require a significant investment in testing to ensure the transition is seamless for the customer.
Jorge Fernandez, president of Level Four Americas LLC said: "The addition of
POS Simulator to Level Four's product suite was a natural step as many financial institutions who control ATM networks also control substantial POS
networks, sometimes through the same team. The flexibility of the technology
enables our developers to accurately simulate the many variations in hardware and software found in the POS environment. It enables a much faster time to market for financial institutions to introduce new services and technologies."
Integrating fully with Level Four's ATM Channel Development Suite, POS Simulator provides automated non-vendor specific POS terminal testing, emulating the many different variations in hardware and retail environments for flexible end-to-end transaction testing.
Martin Macmillan, CEO of Level Four Software said: "The extent of manual testing required for POS systems is easily underestimated. With POS technology becoming more and more complex it has become a more difficult, time-intensive and therefore expensive process. Using Level Four's POS Simulator, card issuers and financial institutions will be able to complete this essential testing process and deliver a quality and reliability of service that customers now expect."
POS Simulator can either use its own built-in host simulator or link to external authorisation host systems as a real POS terminal. Card issuers can
use this simulated host function to check new card technology is accepted and translated to the host correctly. This is vital for testing EMV smart cards, as the chip on the card communicates with and receives data from both the POS terminal and the host system.
POS Simulator provides an easy-to-use graphical representation of a POS terminal and enables users to perform transactions at a click of a mouse. Fault conditions, many of which are impossible to replicate manually, can be easily configured. Test conditions can be set using virtual cards or physical cards with an attached chip card reader to enable thorough end-to-end testing of the interaction between card and host processing environment.
With POS vendors constantly updating their software to comply with regulations such as EMV and respond to market conditions or customer demand, the problem of testing for card issuers, banks and POS deployers continues to grow. POS Simulator delivers automated testing in an intuitive, systematic, repeatable and auditable fashion. Users benefit from the ability to validate the EMV processing interaction between the card, the terminal and the host in a fully integrated toolkit.
EMV is an international standard for ATMs, POS and smart cards. Level Four has aided many banks to meet the mandated deadlines to comply with EMV. In the UK and Western Europe the deadline is January 2005, for Latin America, Canada, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East it is January 2006. The U.S. is a long way behind and needs to address this quickly in order to avoid becoming the easy target for fraudsters, purely because they still depend on insecure magnetic stripe cards.
POS Simulator supports all standard POS transactions: purchase, refund, advice, inquiry, reversal and reconciliation. It is also supports SPDH, ISO8583, APACS and bespoke message formats and connection to the host through asynchronous dial-up, TCP IP or X25.
BAI Retail Delivery Show, November 16 - 18, 2004, Las Vegas Level Four Americas is exhibiting at BAI RDS and can be found at booth # 3177. Jorge Fernandez, President and CEO of Level Four Americas and Martin Macmillan, CEO of Level Four Software are both available for interview.