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Visa Puts Its Money Behind Security

by Peter Andrew
Visa Puts Its Money Behind Security

Visa USA announced this week that it will use both rewards and punishment in an attempt to get merchants to be more vigilant about securing cardholder data. Visa will offer $20 million in financial incentives and also use various sanctions to increase merchant compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard.

The program is targeting the acquirers of the largest 1,200 merchants, all of which process more than one million Visa transactions a year and combined account for about two-thirds of Visa’s U.S. transaction volume. To qualify for a one-time incentive payment, acquirers must be in full compliance with the security standard by March 31, 2007. Acquirers whose merchants are compliant after the March deadline but before August 31, 2007 will receive a smaller one-time payment.

If that carrot isn’t enough motivation, fines of up to $25,000 per month could be levied by Visa for those who don’t comply with the security standards.

A number of security compromises, in which credit card data of thousands of customers was stolen or made vulnerable, have spurred the major credit card networks to pressure merchants to follow stricter procedures to ensure that data is not stored after transactions are completed. MasterCard announced a similar program earlier in 2006.

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