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SCS VOLUME version 8.0

On 1 March 2017, the European Cards Stakeholders Group (ECSG) published version 8.0 of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) Cards Standardisation Volume. This document defines a standard set of requirements to enable an interoperable and scalable card and terminal infrastructure across SEPA, based on open international card standards.

The SCS Volume version 8.0 consists of seven separate books. These documents can be downloaded individually or together included in a single, downloadable zip file:

Book 1 - ‘General’ highlights the relevance of harmonised standardisation requirements to achieve a SEPA for cards. It offers an introduction to the content and structure of the SCS Volume, addressing the information needs of both experts in the field and other parties interested in the subject. It reflects the document change history and the principles governing the maintenance process. Book 1 also includes the definitions of terms used in the SCS Volume.

Book 2 - ‘Functional Requirements’ details requirements applicable to transactions initiated with a card, which result in the provision of the different services to the cardholder referred to in this book. Book 2 enables a card system specialist to identify the operational requirements in the domain that need to be addressed to facilitate harmonisation. To improve the interoperability of cards and terminals, the book also refers to and enhances EMV standards and shows how to use these in conformance with the various services requirements described.

Book 3 - ‘Data Elements’ supports the new card message standards defined in ISO (International Organization for Standardization) (i.e. 20022). It allows card schemes, issuers and acquirers to easily identify enhancements and comparisons with earlier ISO releases. In addition, the data within Book 3 is available within a separate spreadsheet which can assist in the design of related system architecture for implementation. This promotes the harmonisation of existing protocols with both the SCS Volume and the ISO 20022 card message authorisation and clearing standards. Book 3 serves as a major enabling factor to achieve technical interoperability in the area of processing based on the most advanced global message standards available.

Book 3 Data Elements Spreadsheet sets out the data elements described in Book 3 of the SCS Volume version 8.0. This separate spreadsheet can assist in the design of related system architecture for implementation and promotes the harmonisation of existing protocols with both the SCS Volume and the ISO 20022 card message authorisation and clearing standards.

Book 4 - ‘Security’ defines requirements in order to achieve a “single common set of SEPA card security requirements and technical specifications”. The Book 4 single security requirements refer to PCI (Payment Card Industry) international card security standards. This ‘toolbox’ enables system developers and security professionals to easily identify and implement a single harmonised set of security requirements in a consistent way. SEPA card single security requirements are key to maintaining trust in card payments and to making security a pro-competitive factor to the benefit of all stakeholders in the card industry.

Book 5 - ‘Conformance Verification Processes’ defines the methods which allow to verify actual conformance with the SCS Volume requirements of a given card or terminal product or device.
Based on those requirements, an implementation specification is developed, which allows a solution provider (e.g. a point of sale vendor) to develop products (e.g. a point of interaction terminal) against it. The conformance of a product towards an implementation specification is controlled by the certification process.

The labelling process, which is optional, verifies that an implementation specification and its environment conform to the requirements of the SCS Volume.
Type approval is defined as a final validation, performed by an approval body, before the product or solution may be deployed and used.



Book 6 - ‘Implementation Guidelines’ defines a convergence path, i.e. a migration towards unique standard requirements and references.

Book 7 - ‘Cards Processing Framework’ defines business principles and requirements for market access and participation in card payment processing services. The main objective of this framework is to facilitate an open and transparent market.

Also included is a new annex providing a simplified overview of a card transaction. The transaction flow of each card payment may differ for commercial or technical reasons (e.g. if the card terminal includes multi-function touchscreen capabilities or only a minimum display, or if the card is used to make an online payment or to pay in a physical store). The annex explains why these differences in the payment process can in turn create different experiences for the customer. This annex aims to enhance understanding in the market of a card transaction flow. It doesn’t contain requirements. 

As with previous releases of the Volume, the ECSG publishes the consultation responses received from the market, as well as the ECSG actions based on these responses in a single downloadable overview.

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