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MasterCard Urges Merchants to Increase Security of Credit Card Customer Data

by Peter Andrew
MasterCard Urges Merchants to Increase Security of Credit Card Customer Data

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Teaming with rival Visa to protect information, according to NY Times On the heels of several high-profile customer information leaks that left the data of millions of credit card customers vulnerable this year, MasterCard has launched a new program that uses a mix of incentives, tools and education to help merchants safeguard consumer data. In addition, the
New York Times reported on Thursday that MasterCard and Visa are working together to create a group that would set industry-wide security standards. Last year a number of security breaches left card user data vulnerable to theft, most notably one that put 40 million accounts at risk at CardSystems Solutions, a payment processor.

On the incentive end, MasterCard is offering lower interchange rates on online transactions when merchants use MasterCard’s SecureCode program that gives cardholders the ability to use a unique security code to authorize online transactions. On the tools end, MasterCard is offering free “vulnerability scans” of merchant networks to point out potential security problems.

On the education end, a series of trade ads, “Webinars” and a new security Web site will be available to help merchants understand security issues and where to go for help. According to the New York Times report, security officials from Visa and MasterCard began meeting early last year, and executives from both associations have separately mentioned the possibility of teaming up on a new standards body — Visa CEO John Philip Coghlan at a security conference in October, and Mastercard’s chief risk officer Chris Thom this week.

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