|Major credit card transaction networks Visa and MasterCard announced today that they are forming “a new cross-industry group focused on enhancing payment system security to keep pace with the expectations of consumers, retailers and financial institutions,” according to a statement.
To form the focus group, MasterCard and Visa will include a variety of companies and organizations from across industries, from banks and credit unions to retailers, industry trade groups and point-of-sale device manufacturers.
President of Visa Inc. Ryan McInerney said the collaboration is a response to recent massive payment security breaches at big-name retailers like Target Corp., Neiman Marcus and, most recently, Sally Beauty, in which tens of millions of consumer’s card information was stolen.
McInerney said these breaches “served as a catalyst for much needed collaboration between the retail and financial services industry on the issue of payment security.”
“As we have long said, no one industry or technology can solve the issue of payment system fraud on its own. These conversations will serve as a useful forum to share ideas, break down barriers and spur the adoption of next generation security solutions for the benefit of all,” he said.
EMV Chip Technology Tops Group’s Agenda
This cross-industry group will have the common goal to protect companies and consumers from fraud, said Chris McWilton, president of North American Markets, MasterCard. “Only through industry collaboration and cooperation will we address the real and immediate issue of security and maintain consumer confidence and trust.”
The first action item for the group will be migrating the U.S. market from the currently-ubiquitous swipe and sign payment method to more-secure EMV smart cards, also called the chip-and-PIN payment system. “EMV will be the next step in these efforts, alongside enhanced security solutions for online and mobile channels,” according to the statement.
The group will also be focusing on using stronger encryption and tokenization, in which a unique digital payment code is used instead of an account number, which adds a buffer between fraudsters and potential victims’ funds. It will also be “developing an actionable roadmap for securing the future across all segments of the payments industry,” according to the press release.