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Mastercard NIV Testing

Mastercard Network Interface Validation (NIV) testing is also known as customer testing, customer implementation services (CIS) testing or application interface testing. During testing, messages exchanged between Mastercard and members during authorization, clearing, settlement and chargeback are checked. In other words, the system under test is the host of Mastercard members.

Mastercard Network

Issuers, acquirers and processors with the following conditions will need to perform the NIV test:

  • New in-house processing
  • New processing center
  • New business profiles, products, services or functionalities
  • New technology with significant changes in message format
  • Major changes and upgrades to the host system and software
Payment network

Mastercard defines a set of mandatory test cases for the NIV testing. The member needs to open a project with Mastercard prior to start of the testing. The project manager from Mastercard will help define the testing scope and assigning applicable test cases. Further support might also be required during the testing process.

Two types of testing are offered, depending on the host setting and use cases: offline testing and online testing. Offline testing uses simulators that recreate the Mastercard environment and allow customers to test without direct connectivity to Mastercard. Online testing uses the Mastercard Test Facility (MTF) to test in a production-like environment. The biggest difference between the types of testing is the involvement of a Mastercard tester during the testing. Online testing requires the Mastercard tester to initiate and monitor transactions while offline testing is fully controlled by the member.

Offline testing is mandatory and must precede online testing. To get ready for the offline testing, the latest version of the Mastercard simulator is needed as well as test cards from an accredited third party, if applicable. These simulators can be Mastercard Authorization Simulator (MAS) for dual message system, Mastercard Debit Financial Simulator (MDFS) for single message system or Mastercard Clearing Presentment Simulator (MCPS) for dual message system clearing. All are available on Mastercard Connect. For chip issuers, relevant chip cryptogram keys — also known as issuer master keys (IMKs) — information shall be loaded into the simulators. Test results will be exported into acceptable log formats and be provided to Mastercard for review.

To get ready for the online testing, the host under test should be physically connected to the MTF. The Mastercard tester needs to be notified about the online testing schedule and relevant information about the test cards several days prior to the planned testing. Test results are available to Mastercard, and there is no need to submit test results.

In case all required testing is finished and accepted by Mastercard, you will receive a Testing Acknowledgement Notice (TAN). It signifies that the messages between the member’s host and the Mastercard network is validated and certified. But there is still one more step before deployment.

The next step will be certifying the end product: terminals. This step is called the Mastercard Terminal Integration Process (M-TIP). M-TIP is a process designed to ensure that a specific acquirer deployment of an EMV contact chip or a contactless chip terminal meets Mastercard requirements.

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