Security Magazine

MasterCard, Visa Form Group for Better Card Security

March 7, 2014

Visa Inc and MasterCard Inc launched a cross-industry group to improve security for credit card transactions.

The new group - which includes banks, credit unions, retailers and industry trade associations - will initially focus on the adoption of 'EMV' chip technology, MasterCard and Visa said in a statement.

EMV cards, already used in Europe and Asia, store information on computer chips rather than on traditional magnetic strips, making them harder to counterfeit.
They can also require - depending on the issuer - that users enter a personal identification number, or PIN, to make purchases, adding an extra layer of security, reports Reuters.

However, the National Retail Federation, the world's largest retail trade association, said it had not joined the group because there were no plans to immediately implement the PIN option, making for a "half-baked solution." "They're not serious about reducing fraud, unless they put a pin on," said Mallory Duncan, the NRF's general counsel. "We remain insistent that U.S. retailers' customers be given the same protections as consumers in more than 80 countries who have both a chip and a PIN securing their credit and debit cards," Duncan said in a statement.

Visa and MasterCard declined to provide details on specific proposals for the technology to be used in the cards or the make-up of the cross-industry group.

MasterCard and Visa said the group would also address security issues with mobile and online transactions. One proposed solution is for traditional account numbers to be replaced by a unique digital payment code, reports Reuters.