This course is now also available as 4 separate modules. Check it out at the bottom of this page.


This course is the summary of 10 years of experience, and it was engineered, with taught lessons and practical exercises, to put you on a fast track to become a card payment expert.

Free course on Online PIN included in the free trial. Try it now!

Get the pdf course outline here.

In a nutshell

This course bridges the knowledge gap between IT and Transaction processing, with a strong focus on ISO 8583 protocols.


It is equivalent to a 3- or 4-day course with a highly experienced instructor, and learning outcomes are reached with taught lessons, quizzes and practical exercises. This course teaches more than just what the norms expect, it is based on the instructor’s vast experience of how the various elements were actually implemented by many acquirers and issuers in different countries.

When you complete this course, you will know how to manually parse an ISO 8583 message, make sense of its content, and follow a transaction originating from a terminal all the way to its authorization by the card issuer! 

It is intended for anyone who needs strong, technical, payment transaction processing knowledge to be effective and efficient in their work. Perfect to get new hires up to speed and ready to contribute, but also great for professionals who are looking to expand their skillset. 

If you're looking for training for your company, check out our corporate clients page.


All the video lessons come with English closed captions/subtitles, which have been automatically translated into the following languages: Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Tagalog, Tamil, Turkish, Ukrainian and Urdu.




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Do you want to get on the right track to becoming an expert?


Learning outcomes for students:

  • Understand the big picture, who all the players are and what information they expect

  • Get a good understanding of the different data elements in the ISO 8583 norms

  • Be able to parse a raw ISO 8583 message

  • Understand how messages are converted from one system to another

  • Know how to follow a transaction from the POS terminal or ATM to the card issuer

  • Get familiar with industry standard practices for transactions processing

  • Know what is expected for compliance and certification

Reviews from our alumni

  • Very insightful

    Kevin Macharia

    [Software Developer at Tracom Services Limited] I absolutely love this course, it's very engaging and the tutor has a lot of knowledge in the topic.

    [Software Developer at Tracom Services Limited] I absolutely love this course, it's very engaging and the tutor has a lot of knowledge in the topic.

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  • Excellent Course

    Innocent Oketayot

    [Innocent Oketayot, Systems Administrator-Finance Trust Bank, Uganda] This is a great course. For such a highly complex topic as transaction processing, th...

    Read More

    [Innocent Oketayot, Systems Administrator-Finance Trust Bank, Uganda] This is a great course. For such a highly complex topic as transaction processing, the course was presented in such a simplified manner making it very easy to understand. The content is also quite comprehensive, covering all the bases I needed to advance in the world of transaction processing.

    Read Less
  • Well packaged course material !

    Lohith Muniraju

    [Lead EMV Test Analyst at ICC Solutions] Topics around ISO 8583 & Transaction processing are chosen well and explained briefly.

    [Lead EMV Test Analyst at ICC Solutions] Topics around ISO 8583 & Transaction processing are chosen well and explained briefly.

    Read Less
  • Transaction processing

    Mphikeleli Zwane

    [Software Developer at Altech Card Solutions] Before taking this course, i had a little knowledge about transactions flow and processing from the merchants ...

    Read More

    [Software Developer at Altech Card Solutions] Before taking this course, i had a little knowledge about transactions flow and processing from the merchants terminal to the card issuer and the parties involved. This course made it easy for me to understand the processing of transaction within our company. with the help of this course, now i know the different message types, ISO 8583 message layout , fields and their meaning, different ISO 8583 message protocols. Without this course it would take me a year or so to understand the general flow of transactions from the Terminal to the issuer. i would recommend this course to anyone who works in Payment industry, it is easy to follow and understand.

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  • Paytech Online Iso 8583:

    Justine Naidoo

    [Junior EMV Specialist in Standard Bank South Africa] It has been an incredible opportunity having to do the ISO 8583 ONLINE TRAINING, It was user friendl...

    Read More

    [Junior EMV Specialist in Standard Bank South Africa] It has been an incredible opportunity having to do the ISO 8583 ONLINE TRAINING, It was user friendly and straight to the point,easy to understand and it included very relevant information needed when working with ISO .I highly recommend that this course becomes a basis for all users of ISO, purely because of the content that touches on each and every ‘element ‘(no pun intended ) of the system.I enjoyed the interactive voice over that made it easier for me to understand as I am more of a listener than a reader 😊 .

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  • Switch Support Techinician at Nomad

    Gift Chabangu

    I have better understanding now on iso messages and the transaction flow. This course is excellent i would recommend it to anyone it the payment industry.

    I have better understanding now on iso messages and the transaction flow. This course is excellent i would recommend it to anyone it the payment industry.

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  • EMV Test Analyst Itiam(Pty) Ltd and TymeBank

    Nina Jeffery

    Absolutely enjoyed this, well done PayTech Academy. Well structured and excellent content with good exercises. Highly recommend this course for anyone in the...

    Read More

    Absolutely enjoyed this, well done PayTech Academy. Well structured and excellent content with good exercises. Highly recommend this course for anyone in the industry.

    Read Less
  • REVIEW : ISO 8583 & Transaction processing

    Fejiro Ekpekpe

    A very informative course.

    A very informative course.

    Read Less
  • ISO 8583 & Transaction processing

    Busola Ogunnowo

    Quiet knowledgeable

    Quiet knowledgeable

    Read Less
  • ISO Training

    Lewis Kabocho

    [System Administrator at Tracom Services Limited] Informative and rich in depth.

    [System Administrator at Tracom Services Limited] Informative and rich in depth.

    Read Less

Course presentation

Let the instructor tell you all about the course!

Key benefits for organizations

Being able to bridge the knowledge gap between IT skills and in-depth knowledge of transaction processing with ISO 8583 brings the following benefits to organizations:

  • it improves the expertise and productivity of their employees or outsourced partners;

  • it helps reducing staff turnover, because employees with the skills to do their job are happier;

  • it reduces the impact of job rotation on a team’s performance;

  • it facilitates hiring by reducing the need to look for highly experienced professionals;

  • it allows in-house experts to focus on delivering value to clients or customers;

  • it helps organizations to meet the compliance and certification deadlines.

Course description

Transaction processing can be difficult to approach. There is not much information freely available, and you need much more than access to a specification or a norm to get started. The worst kept industry secret is that there is no such thing as “the” ISO 8583 protocol. To start with, there are several versions of that norm. But more importantly there are only protocols which are based on ISO 8583, and which use the norm to support business requirements, with implementation choices.

Back when I worked on the ASTREX payment simulator, we used to support over 50 ISO 8583 protocols, from payment networks, payment switch providers, acquirers and so on. It makes for a messy reality, but with the right guidance this course will help you navigate through this maze.

This course was designed so that the next generation of payment specialists do not need to waste time and energy getting their bearings. This course is based on my experience of taking many people through this path over the years. They say that you can’t teach experience, and I’m certainly not claiming that, but there are approaches that can be taken to help students form logical paths in their minds. One such approach is PBL (problem-based learning), and this course makes heavy use of that for all the very technical parts, with practical exercises.

The course is constructed to take students with basic IT knowledge through a path that will lead to a very good understanding of how payment transactions get processed.

This is a technical course, and the path is one of increasing complexity: we build knowledge blocks through the chapters, and we rely on them to continue down the learning path. The course starts with high-level concepts, ensures that the students have a solid IT base for transaction processing, and then teaches everything you need to know about ISO 8583 messages.

Then it starts to zoom out, and explains how to extract information from payment messages. It then follows transactions in an end-to-end fashion, starting from the card capture device, going through the various conversions to reach the card issuer for authorization. We start simple with a magstripe transaction, then add the complexity of EMV and contactless, and finally look at transactions with online PIN and all the infrastructure needed to support it, like dynamic key exchange and DUKPT. The course finishes with an explanation of the compliance and certification processes.



The course contains 10 hours of bite-size videos, split into relevant chapters, and exercises that should take between 22 and 27 hours altogether. You can think of it as a 3- or 4-day course with a highly experienced instructor, but more convenient because you can work at your own speed and on your own schedule. A completion certificate is provided when the course is finished.

Who is the course intended for?

I built the course with the following audience in mind: people who need strong, technical, payment transaction processing knowledge to be effective and efficient in their work. This includes developers, QA, customer support and managers in the following areas:

  • Acquirer host
  • Payment processor switch
  • Issuer host
  • Payment terminal integration
  • Troubleshooting transaction failures for banks or acquirers
  • Chip card issuance
  • Consulting in any of the areas above


I hope you’ll enjoy taking this course as much as I enjoyed building it.

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Free trial

Want to see if you like it first? There's a free trial that includes 3 lessons, you'll learn something new for sure!

Try it out now!

Course curriculum

  • 1
    01. The big picture
  • 2
    02. Technical fundamentals
    • 02-01. Binary
    • 02-02. Bytes
    • 02-02. Practical exercises on Bytes
    • 02-03. Hexadecimal
    • 02-03. Practical exercises on Hexadecimal
    • 02-04. Bitmaps
    • 02-04. Practical exercises on Bitmaps
    • 02-05. BCD (Binary-Coded Decimal)
    • 02-06. ASCII and EBCDIC
    • 02-06. Practical exercises on ASCII and EBCDIC
    • Chapter 2 Quiz
  • 3
    03. Message format
    • 03-01. Message format overview FREE PREVIEW
    • 03-02. Message type identifiers
    • 03-02. Practical exercises on Message type identifiers
    • 03-03. Bitmaps
    • 03-03. Practical exercises on Bitmaps
    • 03-04. Length and format indicators
    • 03-04. Practical exercises on Length and format indicators
    • Mid-Chapter 3 Quiz
    • 03-05. Data elements 1 to 16
    • 03-05. Practical exercises on Data elements 1 to 16
    • 03-06. Data elements 17 to 32
    • 03-06. Practical exercises on Data elements 17 to 32
    • 03-07. Data elements 33 to 48
    • 03-07. Practical exercises on Data elements 33 to 48
    • 03-08. Data elements 49 to 64
    • 03-08. Practical exercises on Data elements 49 to 64
    • 03-09. Data elements 65 to 80
    • 03-09. Practical exercises on Data elements 65 to 80
    • 03-10. Data elements 81 to 96
    • 03-10. Practical exercises on Data elements 81 to 96
    • 03-11. Data elements 97 to 112
    • 03-11. Practical exercises on Data elements 97 to 112
    • 03-12. Data elements 113 to 128
    • 03-13. Example of message parsing
    • 03-13. Practical exercises on Message parsing
    • 03-14. Transaction flows
    • 03-15. Data Elements Presence
    • Chapter 3 Quiz
  • 4
    04. Message analysis
    • 04-01. Network management messages
    • 04-01. Practical exercises on Network management messages
    • 04-02. Authorization request messages - Part 1
    • 04-02. Practical exercises on Authorization request messages - Part 1
    • 04-03. Authorization request messages - Part 2
    • 04-03. Practical exercises on Authorization request messages - Part 2
    • 04-04. Authorization request messages - Part 3
    • 04-04. Practical exercises on Authorization request messages - Part 3
    • 04-05. Authorization advice messages
    • 04-06. Financial request messages
    • 04-06. Practical exercises on Financial request messages
    • 04-07. Financial advice messages
    • 04-07. Practical exercises on Financial advice messages
    • 04-08. Reversal messages
    • 04-08. Practical exercises on Reversal messages
    • Chapter 4 Quiz
  • 5
    05. End to End Magstripe transactions
    • 05-01. Domestic magstripe transaction
    • 05-02. Cross-border contactless magstripe transaction
    • Chapter 5 Quiz
  • 6
    06. End to End EMV transactions
    • 06-01. Contact EMV transaction
    • 06-02. Contactless EMV transaction
    • 06-03. Other types of ICC Data representation
    • Chapter 6 Quiz
  • 7
    07. End to End Online PIN transactions
  • 8
    08. Certification & Compliance
    • 08-01. Certification & Compliance
    • 08-02. Issuer-host certification
    • 08-03. Acquirer-host certification
    • 08-04. Terminal certification
    • Chapter 8 Quiz
    • Course survey

Instructor

Hervé Zenner

Card payment expert


I have a passion for helping people reach their full potential. As a strong believer of the concept of sustainable leadership, I can feel the pain of employees who cannot perform at their best because of the difficulty of knowledge transfer. In my previous role in product marketing for a very complex payment simulator, I was faced with bridging this knowledge gap on a regular basis. The payment industry is one where the barrier to entry is high, and it should not be this way because it hinders growth for everyone.

My most prized accomplishment in my career is the development of a formalized payment education program for South Africa, which has seen over a hundred students with IT backgrounds turned into payment experts able to proficiently operate our payment simulator. This was made possible thanks to many other education experiences, technical or process-oriented.

Because I am an INTJ in the Myers-Briggs model, you can be sure that the content of my courses is fully thought-out and takes into consideration all aspects needed to reach the targets. I am really good at putting myself in my students’ shoes, to find the path that will take them from where they are to where they want to be.


Want to know more about my credentials?

During my 10 years of strong, technical experience in the card payment industry, I worked in development and QA for the two leading chip card manufacturers, Gemalto and Oberthur. I also held a position of security analyst for EMV products in a lab, which provided a deep understanding of the internal working of payment cards.

My longest position was with Acquirer Systems, a small company which created the best, and most complete, payment simulator on the market (it now belongs to UL). During that time, I held just about every position that there is to fill in a small company, doing software development, QA, customer support, then moving to consulting, pre-sales and education. I built a complete library of deep, technical knowledge in all aspects of card payment transactions, from the card in your pocket to the authorization by the banks.

I am also fully qualified for the positions I have held until now, and fully prepared for the challenges of the future. I hold an MSc in engineering from a French college, and an Executive MBA from Trinity College Dublin.

Would you prefer a modular approach?

We also split this flagship course into 4 modules, which can be purchased separately.

A building block towards innovation

This course could be part of your strategy to bring the innovation spark to your company. Check out our article on "paving the way to innovation with employee development" in our Blog to know more. You can also catch a free replay of the webinar we did on the topic.
Watch the webinar replay
A building block towards innovation

Got a question for us?

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