Feeds

Visa's chip-and-PIN exemption rules given cautious welcome

Good news for shopkeepers

Top three mobile application threats

Visa has relaxed its regulatory rules so that European high street merchants who capture at least three-quarters of their take through EMV-enabled chip-and-PIN terminals will no longer have to pass Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) audits every year. The programme, which will help high street shops to reduce compliance cost, kicks in from 31 March 2011.

Retail merchants will have to first establish compliance before they can benefit from the newly introduced programme, which means that this status will no longer be reviewed every year, at least as far as Visa is concerned. Mastercard is yet to introduce a comparable scheme, so the move doesn't yet mean that most high street merchants can avoid annual security audits, at least for now. Chip-and-PIN transactions are, of course, irrelevant for online retailers. In addition, the programme only applies in Europe and elsewhere in the world, except the US, where chip-and-PIN as a method to authorise face-to-face credit card transactions in preference to signatures is yet to become commonplace.

Visa describes the move as a validation of proven technology that also lays the groundwork towards the future use of mobile payment technologies.

"EMV chip is a proven technology platform that can offer the industry the ability to facilitate dynamic data as well as enable payment innovations," said Jim McCarthy, global head of product at Visa, in a statement. "In addition, merchant adoption of dual interface contact/contactless terminals will support the emergence of near field communication (NFC) payment form factors, including mobile devices."

Ross Brewer, president and managing director of security compliance and management tools firm LogRhythm, said that although the new rules may reduce the compliancy burdens for some, they will inevitably lead to greater confusion over regulations.

“Visa should of course be applauded for trying to reduce the compliance burden for merchants that are using the latest secure technologies, in this instance, contact or dual contact/contactless chip-and-PIN terminals," Brewer explained. "However, this by no means spells the end of compliance – other card firms, including MasterCard, will still require annual validation that regulations are being met – so appropriate compliance procedures still need to be in place."

Assuring security at a point-of-sale terminal is only part of maintaining a secure retail environment. Encryption of customer details and maintaining secure wireless networks in retail environment are also important. Brewer cautioned that Visa appeared to be sending out a "mixed message" about complying with industry best practices by failing to stress a holistic approach. Brewer said: "Even if point-of-sale security is completely watertight, who’s to say that the credit card details stored elsewhere in the merchant’s IT infrastructure are just as safe?"

"PCI compliance – as burdensome as it sometimes seems – still delivers benefits to merchants, as it helps them achieve best practice," he concluded. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Heartbleed exploit, inoculation, both released
File under 'this is going to hurt you more than it hurts me'
Canadian taxman says hundreds pierced by Heartbleed SSL skewer
900 social insurance numbers nicked, says revenue watchman
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
Burnt out on patches this month? Oracle's got 104 MORE fixes for you
Mass patch for issues across its software catalog
Reddit users discover iOS malware threat
'Unflod Baby Panda' looks to snatch Apple IDs
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.