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SAN FRANCISCO -- Visa Inc. has taken the wraps off its new service, Visa Merchant Data Secure with Point-to-Point Encryption, to help acquirers and merchants protect payment card data. The service is slated to roll out by early 2013.
In preparation of the launch, Visa is working with acquirers, processors and payment technology vendors to provide specifications for integrating Visa's solution into payment terminals as well as into critical systems across the payment processing industry, according to the company.
With Point-to-Point encryption (P2PE) technology card data can only be accessed, or unscrambled, with decryption keys held securely by the acquirer, gateway or Visa. As a result, cardholder information is protected within the payment processing environment, the company added.
"Merchants large and small have expressed an interest in encryption as a way to protect cardholder data in their payment systems and simplify their security protocols," said Ellen Richey, chief enterprise risk officer, Visa Inc. "Since encrypted data can't be used to commit fraud, Visa's point-to-point encryption solution can significantly reduce the risk and impact of data compromises."
This solution is part of Visa's broader authentication strategy which aims to improve payment industry security by eliminating account data from the payment environment whenever possible, protecting sensitive information wherever it is stored, processed or transmitted, and devaluing stolen account information through dynamic authentication solutions such as EMV chip technology, according to Visa.
"With Visa's global processing reach and capabilities, we are able to provide an encryption solution that meets the needs of merchants and acquirers who want ease of implementation, flexibility, and effective protection," said Darren Parslow, global head of processing, Visa Inc. "Working in concert, multiple layers of security including point-to-point encryption can help take merchants out of harm's way while mitigating fraud throughout the payment system."
According to Visa, the P2PE technology meets several concerns raised by merchants and acquirers. Specifically, it will have minimal impact to payment processing systems; it will offer a consistent, open encryption standard; and it will provide multi-zone encryption which can facilitate routing to multiple endpoints.