EPAS (Electronic Protocols Application Software) is a non-commercial cooperation initiative launched in Europe which aims at developing a series of data protocols to be applied in a point of interaction (POI) environment.
The project intends to address the three following protocols :
a terminal management protocol;
a retailer application protocol;
an acquirer protocol.
The main objectives common to the three protocols are:
protocol interoperability : each protocol is designed in such a way as to be independent of the external device and the POI;
independence of the system architecture and the integration level of the POI within the retailer application protocol;
independence of the communication support and low level protocols : each protocol is independent of the network connection and will address both wire and wireless connections.
A current barrier to the development of the POI meerkat is due to the existing fragmented market for this type of equipment, especially in Europe, where each country has adopted its own requirements and rules in terms of security and functions to be implemented in POI devices.
Today's situation is the following one :
card accepting devices from one country cannot be replaced by similar devices of another country due to different – incompatible - protocols for download, key management, communication with cash registers requiring specific software modules for each country of operation;