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Payments industry stepping up to the security plate

Feb 26, 2014 Dave King

Concerns about data breaches have worried many consumers and retailers in the last several years. As society starts to rely more and more on technology than ever before, the need to have electronic payments portals in place is increasing.

While the demand for e-payments will only grow, so will the threat landscape that comes with these transactions solutions. A recent string of major breaches at well-known retailers such as Target highlighted just how worrisome electronic payment technology can be.

In an effort to project their own finances, as well as those of consumers, retail outlets have been spearheading an aggressive campaign to make the e-payment environment in the United States as safe as possible.

Regulatory overhaul needed
In an article for Georgia-based political blog Peach Pundit, Jason Oxman, CEO of the Electronic Transactions Association (ETA), noted that his organization's members have typically led the charge in enhancing security over the years.

He asserted that the ETA uses innovative technologies to combat cyberthreats, as well as comply with regulations from all 50 states and more than 20 federal organizations.

Oxman went on to note ETA officials have supported the introduction of new systems and tools that will further secure the retail landscape. From EMV cards to various encryption systems, there are a wide range of security solutions hitting the market. However, he stated that Congress needs to act quickly in order to make these private sector efforts worthwhile.

"The U.S. Congress has an important role to play in protecting consumers in the United States from the criminals who prey upon the financial system," Oxman wrote. "One area ripe for reform: regulations regarding consumer notification of breach events."

At the moment, there are is a "patchwork" of state breach regulations that need to be streamlined, according to Oxman. For this reason, America's elected officials should consider overhauling the current regulatory landscape for electronic payments. If they fail to do so, they will likely face the same challenges that major breaches present to the retail industry.

The fact of the matter is that the e-payment sector will grow significantly in the coming years. From online sales to mobile payments, new technologies are changing the retail industry at a constant rate. Combating this issue requires tougher regulations and a continued dedication from payment organizations to fight breach threats.