C-TAP Specifications

C-TAP: Common Terminal Acquirer Protocol

C-TAP is the abbreviation of Common Terminal Acquirer Protocol. The C-TAP specifications describe:
  • The exchange of information with payment cards of various technology and how these cards are recognized
  • The detailed flow for various types of transaction processing
  • The association of a recognized card with an acquirer that will authorize and settle the transaction
  • The data exchange with this processor
  • The message and information processing requirement at the acquirers’ host system

In more detail, the C-TAP specifications indicate:

  • Storage and management of card recognition criteria and multiple sets of instructions delivered by individual acquirers having a relationship with the merchant
  • The sequence of interactions with EMV smart cards on top of the EMV Level 1 and Level 2 specifications, as well as the reading of ISO tracks on magstripe cards
  • The support of the various CVM (Cardholder Verification Method) as instructed by the issuer of the card in combination with the directions delivered by the acquirer: clear text or encrypted PIN verified by the smart card, encryption and on-line verification of a PIN, signature or no CVM
  • The support of various modes of operation: on-line and backup mode
  • A range of solutions to guarantee message integrity and data protection

Introduction to the C-TAP specifications: