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Credit card companies form security council

Credit card companies form security council
Credit card companies form security council 

By Erica Ogg
Staff Writer, CNET
September 7, 2006

The five major credit card companies have teamed up in the interest of 
better security.

American Express, Discover Financial Services, JCB, MasterCard Worldwide 
and Visa International announced Thursday the creation of an 
organization to develop and maintain security standards for credit and 
debit card payments. It's the first time the five brands have agreed on 
a single, common framework.

The newly formed Payment Card International (PCI) Security Standards 
Council will manage the PCI Data Security Standard, first established in 
January 2005 with the intention of making its implementation more 
efficient for all parties involved in a payment card transaction. That 
includes merchants, payment processors, point-of-sale vendors, financial 
institutions and more than a billion card holders worldwide.

The companies have come together despite being in competition with each 
other because they say ensuring better security will benefit everyone.

"First of all, it's to protect the information of our mutual customers 
and to make the process of data security compliance easier," said Rob 
Tourt, vice president of network services for Discover.

Having a single data security standard is a critical issue for the 
entire industry and will simplify the process, said Brian Buckley, 
Visa's senior vice president of international risk management.

"Our view is that this is first and foremost an important initiative to 
get data security in place for payment cards," he said.

Having the common accepted set of rules should foster broader 
compliance, said Bruce Rutherford, MasterCard's vice president of 
payments. Those rules include instructions on proper data encryption, 
common technical standards and security audit procedures.

The first action of the new council was to update the PCI security 
standard, which was promised in May. The revision gives instructions for 
how to implement the new standards and clarifies language that was 
previously considered vague. For example, terms such as "periodically"  
and "regularly" were swapped for definite deadlines like "annually" or 
"quarterly" where appropriate. A statement released by the newly formed 
council said the revisions were the result of feedback from vendors, 
merchants and payment processors.

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