MasterCard and Visa Collaborate to Upgrade Security of Payments

Credit Card giants, Visa and MasterCard announced that they have launched a cross-industry group to improve security for card transactions. The joint group will press U.S. retailers and banks to meet a 2015 deadline to adopt technology that would make it safer to pay with plastic. This collaboration follows a number of high profile breaches

  • The new group, which will include banks, credit unions, retailers and industry trade groups, will initially focus on the adoption of the safer 'EMV' chip technology in the United States, MasterCard and Visa stated on 7th March 2014.
  • The group will initially focus on adoption of EMV chip technology in the US in addition to addressing other security-related topics like tokenisation and point-to-point encryption.
  • The formation of the group is a public recognition of the importance of all parties to work together and will ensure all voices can contribute to the strategic direction of payment security, according to Visa.

'One of the critical roles we play is to protect consumers and businesses against criminals and fraudsters. Only through industry collaboration and cooperation will we address the real and immediate issue of security and maintain consumer confidence and trust,' said Chris McWilton, MasterCard President, North American Markets. 'EMV will be the next step in these efforts, alongside enhanced security solutions for online and mobile channels,' he added.

'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,' said President of Visa, Ryan McInerney. '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.'

MasterCard and Visa had already set a deadline of October 2015 for US retailers to adopt the new payment technology. However, banks and retailers have been dragging their feet over the required upgrade, at odds over who should bear the cost, which according to experts could reach upto $10 Bn. Target also announced that it was accelerating a $100 Mn program to implement the use of chip-enabled smart cards to protect against cyber threat. The goal is to have the technology in place by early 2015.