The purpose of the data preparation system

Data preparation - the process during which, the initial data for the production of plastic cards is processed, formatted and edited.

The Back Office system can prepare for the personalization of the card:

  • the structure of the applications that are being personalized;
  • set and format required for each;
  • source of the data.

The variety of options for each of the above items causes the widespread use of the data preparation system.

Functionality of the data preparation system

The Back Office system of the bank dose not need to provide a full set of EMV-data and tags at the input; the format of the incoming data (eg PIN-block) may not match the format that is supported by a specific type of card. In this case the data preparation system forms the missing, processes and re-formats the available data, to bring them into compliance with the card requirements.

Ability to add background information for personalization allows to prepare data for two or more applications (eg, financial and loyalty) within a single card product.

Sometimes for personalization the required data, comes from more than one source, and some of the data might not be supplied by the Back Office, for example the clients photo or his favorite dog ( for personalization of lifestyle-cards), clients signature sample, or his finger print, which needs to be graphically personalized on the card or needs to be loaded into the microchip of the card. The data preparation system in this case is a link which connects the data sources with the devices that use them – personalization devices.


International standards regulate the list of templates, dependency and the possible values for the microchip data, reporting format and requirements for cryptographic protection of information for financial cards.

Data for financial applications must meet the requirements of the specifications VIS 1.3.2; VIS 1.4.0; M / Chip 2.1; M / Chip 4.0, as well as AmEx and other payment systems

Ways for optimizing

Even the Visa payment system say ‘…personalization is harder than we thought’ The hardest part is not the data itself, but the nomenclature of the parameters, a large number of possible values and combinations, as well as the data structure and methods for their preparation. In this case, it is reasonable to divide the personalization and data preparation into two stages. As a result, it becomes possible to quickly and easily find and fix errors in the data at the stage of their preparation. And most importantly - data preparation occurs regardless of personalization, and even in parallel with it, which significantly reduces the integral time-consuming. Thus, the generation of a pair of RSA-1024 bit key length, even with high-efficiency crypto-devices takes an average of 1 to 8 seconds.

In practice there might be other procedures that take long, which are better of done during data preparation process: for example, choosing the required application for loyalty, processing and packaging in the desired image format, etc. Separation of data preparation and personalization can greatly increase productivity and allow more efficient use of Personalization equipment.

PRONIT Company’s Solutions

MSDP Manager software solution for the generation of PIN and printing PIN-envelopes
SmartDataCenter software solution for the preparation of data for personalization applications on the ICC cards