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After mass security lapse, RBS Worldpay gets IRS contract

No bad deed goes unrewarded

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RBS Worldpay - the electronic payment processor that admitted it exposed sensitive financial records for millions of customers - has been awarded a contract by the Internal Revenue Service to process tax return payments next year.

The company, which is a division of the Royal Bank of Scotland, will begin processing taxpayers' credit card payments starting in 2010, according to Brian Krebs's Security Fix blog. In return, RBS Worldpay will take a "convenience fee" amounting to 1.95 percent of the amount a taxpayer owes.

Last month, Visa yanked RBS Worldpay from its list of processors it considers compliant with industry-mandated standards for data security. In December, the company admitted that a hacker break in exposed 1.5 million payroll and gift card holders and about 1.1 million social security records. Although the breach occurred in early November, the company waited until two days before Christmas to fess up, presumably to release the bad news when it is least likely to be noticed.

An IRS spokesman told Security Fix the company wouldn't be permitted to process taxpayers' payments until it proved it was once again compliant with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards. It will also have to pass an IRS security audit. ®

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