About EPCI

The original mission statement

Founded in 1998 by and operational since April 1999, the Institute acts as a service provider to the card scheme manager and acquirer that is acquiring transactions with the help of payment terminals.


The institute is established as a non-profit centre (Association Sans But LucratifVereniging Zonder Winstoogmerk). It is controlled by a board of banks issuing cards from the Bancontact/MisterCash scheme for the domestic debit card and from the Proton scheme for the electronic purse.

 

In this framework,  EPCI has three principal roles:

  • Manage the distribution process of the specifications towards terminal vendors

  • Manage the terminal certification process. The actual certification work is performed by external labs that have the appropriate accreditation and upon successful completion 

The certification process is governed by a contract signed between the vendor and EPCI. The authority is delivered by contract signed between EPCI and the organisations acquiring card transactions on the basis of terminal specifications that EPCI certifies. 


Once the vendor has passed the certification procedure, he will be able to offer its products to merchant's community having signed acquiring agreements with the card scheme managers.


A first extension of EPCI's services

Since 2001, the terminal certification process was extended to provide similar services to acquirers of other card transactions such as global credit cards and private label cards.

In a first stage a rapid harmonisation of mag-stripe terminal specifications was achieved.

As of 2004, when the EMV migration started, a new common specification was adopted by the acquirers and acquiring processors operating in Belgium. This would later evolve to an international specification called C-TAP. As these specifications were broad and comprehensive, new acceptance services could be grafted on the same technological basis.

Given the widespread use of C-TAP in Europe, 
acquirers and acquiring processors set up an international organisation to further manage C-TAP and provide the corresponding payment terminal certification services. Acquiris took over this activity from EPCI in 2011.


Broadening the scope: Isabel GO

Isabel 6 offers a seamless integration with the Isabel users' accounting packages trough Isabel Go - the Isabel button in 
your accounting package.

EPCI, as an independent certification institute, was mandated by Isabel nv/sa to perform certifications of conformity for Isabel Go software developed in the framework of Isabel Software Partner program. This program and the related certification are discontinued as of 2014.

Focus on the "legacy" Bancontact/MisterCash & Proton specifications

EPCI will refocus on it's original mission statement linked to the 
Bancontact/MisterCash & Proton specifications and the work done for Isabel.

In line with the requirements of the European Payments Council and the SEPA card framework, a new card scheme
- Bancontact/MisterCash for SEPA -was set up and issuers / acquirers might migrate to this new scheme. The legacy 
Bancontact/MisterCash will eventually be discontinued.

The present acquirer of the legacy Bancontact/MisterCash will then terminate the transactional support of terminals having implemented the corresponding specifications for these legacy cards.

The Proton scheme discontinued at the end of 2014. 


For more information, please refer to www.bancontact.eu.