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KAL makes ATMs future-proof with nexo standards protocols

KAL Case Study: nexo standards protocols

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Česká spořitelna is the largest bank in Czechia with more than five million clients and the most extensive branch and ATM network in the country.

The challenge: Česká’s outdated host computer system offered limited functionality and little flexibility. The bank needed to effectively manage and maintain its ATM network while also improving operational efficiency and adding innovative new services.

Česká chose to decommission the host system gradually, transferring functionality to a new terminal handler system. At the same time, Česká wanted to switch to a new, open payments acceptance standard that was forward-looking and future-proofed. Using an open standard would also significantly increase Česká’s options to deliver new innovative services to the ATM, while ensuring interoperability with all other stakeholders within the payments ecosystem.

Major issues

  • Implementation time reduction

  • Cost optimization

  • Global interoperable system

Background

KAL began providing its ATM software to Česká in 2016. Česká is the biggest bank in the Czech Republic, with almost five million customers and assets of over $45 billion. Česká provides its customers with the broadest range of banking services in the Czech Republic via a network of over 550 branches and more than 1,600 ATMs.

This case study explores how KAL software answered Česká’s requirement to improve the management of the largest ATM network in the Czech Republic – while continuing to innovate and launch new products and services quickly into the market. The case study also addresses how KAL software and nexo standards helped Česká to fulfil its strategy to create a single environment and support for its clients via ATMs, and an online platform that provides consultancy and other services beyond standard internet banking.

The solution

The answer for Česká was twofold. Firstly, it opted for the KAL ATM Software Suite including the Kalignite Terminal Handler (KTH). KTH gives banks a new option within the datacentre when replacing legacy host systems or extending current host capabilities.

KTH is used as a front-end to a bank’s host system on the ATM channel. This meant that it could be deployed by Česká to offload a significant amount of work that the old ATM host system was doing. KTH is also highly customizable, allowing Česká to deploy new, innovative features to the market much faster than was previously possible. What’s more, KTH can connect the ATMs to many bank back office systems using multiple messaging protocols at the same time. This is where the second part of the solution came in – nexo standards. Nexo standards is a global association that develops messaging protocols and specifications which adhere to ISO 20022 standards and enable fast, interoperable and borderless payment acceptance by standardizing the exchange of payment acceptance data between merchants, acquirers, payment service providers and other payment stakeholders.

KAL, along with a number of other key ATM nexo standards members, jointly developed the nexo standards ATM Messaging Protocol. The protocol is an extension of the ISO 20022 global standard for host-to-host communication and is the first universal standardization initiative related to the ATM transaction and management domain. The ATM Messaging Protocol from nexo standards works by ensuring that the ATM message set focuses on the communication between an ATM and host systems. Under the nexo standards protocol, the ATM’s messages cover extensive transaction processing, security, ATM inventory, state of health and terminal management. The fact that the nexo standards protocol is derived from ISO 20022 made it even more valuable for Česká because it allows for future developments in the transaction value chain worldwide.

The nexo ATM Messaging Protocol was integrated into the KAL ATM Software to standardize the communication between the ATM and KTH. The role of KTH is to convert the nexo message it receives from the ATM into the messaging format required by the other host / central systems at Česká that support the ATMs.

Key project outcomes

Using the nexo standard ATM Messaging Protocol provides Česká with many benefits, including:

New services

The nexo standards protocol significantly increases the bank’s ability to deliver new and innovative services to its ATMs. For example, nexo standards’ ATM Protocol gives Ceska the option to support contactless card transactions and pre-staged transactions.

Lower implementation costs

Česká has reduced its costs by using a single, common standard protocol, rather than one of the hundreds of bank-specific, vendor-specific and country-specific protocols currently in use around the world. Unlike these legacy standards, nexo standards provides open messaging protocols that allow better interoperability between ATMs and Česká’s host computers.

Easy implementation

The nexo standard protocol uses XML over HTTPS which is simpler and quicker to implement than today’s non-secure binary protocols. This resulted in shorter implementation timescales for Česká when updating its ATMs.

The ability to offer the implementation of nexo standards to its customers also generates a variety of benefits for KAL:

  • In a very competitive marketplace for ATM software, nexo standards enables KAL to add significant value to its customers, beyond what is readily achievable via other messaging protocols such as vendor-specific and proprietary formats used by many banks.
  • The reduced implementation timescales realized with nexo standards enables KAL to complete deployments on both local and global scale projects significantly faster and more efficiently than before.
  • With nexo standards, KAL now has a universally consistent messaging foundation that can be applied around the world, regardless of the domestic specificities of each future project.

More about nexo standards

Nexo standards enables fast, interoperable and borderless payments acceptance by standardizing the exchange of payment acceptance data between merchants, acquirers, payment service providers and other payment stakeholders. Nexo’s messaging protocols and specifications adhere to ISO 20022 standards, are universally applicable and are freely available globally.

Nexo standards is an open, global association dedicated to removing the barriers present in today’s fragmented global card payment acceptance ecosystem. Headquartered in Brussels, its members represent the full spectrum of card payments stakeholders, including acceptors, processors, card schemes, payment service providers and vendors.

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More about Česká

Česká provides services for individuals, small and medium-sized enterprises, towns and municipalities, and finances large corporations.

Česká is proud of its long tradition – it was established in 1825 as the first savings bank in the Czech Republic – but it is equally proud of its role as an innovator. Many of its products and services are leaders in the Czech market. The bank has been a member of the Erste Group since 2000. For more information, click here.

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