MasterCard and Visa announced on Friday a new cross-industry group aimed at enhancing the security of the U.S. payments system, with initial focus on the adoption of EMV chip technology, tokenization and point-to-point encryption.
“One of the critical roles we play is to protect consumers and businesses against criminals and fraudsters,” Chris McWilton, the president of North American markets at MasterCard, said. “Only through industry collaboration and cooperation will we address the real and immediate issue of security and maintain consumer confidence and trust. EMV will be the next step in these efforts, alongside enhanced security solutions for online and mobile channels.”
The new group will include participation by financial institutions, retailers, point-of-sale device manufacturers and industry trade groups.
“The recent high-profile breaches have served as a catalyst for much-needed collaboration between the retail and financial services industry on the issue of payment security,” Visa President Ryan McInerney said. “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.”
The National Retail Federation said that while the migration to PIN and chip is “just a bridge on the long road” to creating a more secure payments system in the U.S., it is “an important step in the right direction.”
“We appreciate being involved in meetings with other stakeholders such as the one hosted by Visa and MasterCard…” NRF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Mallory Duncan said. “While we certainly agree that speed is of the essence, we don’t believe it is an obstacle to introducing PIN and chip cards since the technology is well established and the cards are widely used around the globe. Easy-to-forge signatures are a virtually worthless form of authentication. Insisting on chip-and-signature cards is like installing an alarm on the front door of a home while leaving the back door wide open. It doesn’t make sense when the technology exists to secure the entire house.”