Business owners, card issuers and payment processors throughout the United States are now in the process of switching over to EMV. Despite plenty of time to prepare, there are ongoing reports that the transition process has been very rocky and US merchants as a whole are not prepared. Many businesses are being pressured into a quick EMV solution that doesn’t take into consideration their specific need.
EMV technology was designed to authenticate cards at card-present payment terminals. It helps to prevent the use of fraudulent cards in stores better than traditional magnetic stripe cards. However, EMV is not 100% secure nor was it designed as a security method to protect the merchant’s payment environment. This means that a well-constructed EMV solution requires the use of layered security to protect sensitive cardholder data, including:
P2PE.All card data should be encrypted from the time it is keyed, swiped, tapped or inserted. Merchants should use a device that encrypts at the point a payment terminal interacts with a card or mobile wallet so that no payment information is ever in the clear and at risk of being stolen by a savvy hacker. This shrinks the merchant’s cardholder data environment to the secure device level, reducing much of the merchant’s breach profile and their PCI DSS scope along with it—something that EMV alone can’t do.
Tokenization. All card data should be removed from the merchant environment and placed under the protection of an organization that considers the security of their merchant customers’ payment processing its primary job. To do this, merchants must adopt a security- or storage-based tokenization solution, which replaces sensitive cardholder data with non-decryptable information that is meaningless to all but a select few. This differs from emerging “payment token” solutions, such as those offered by mobile wallets, by providing security for merchant systems, not just individual consumers.
EMV. EMV has merit for authenticating card-present transactions. Still, merchants should implement EMV in a strategic fashion, making sure to add the layered security of P2PE and tokenization to protect their customers’ payment information from data thieves by removing that sensitive data from the merchant environment entirely.
Though big undertakings such as the transition to EMV can be confusing, merchants must not be pressured into a quick solution that doesn’t meet their specific needs. Instead, they should take the time necessary to implement EMV as a step in the path to true security, not as a security solution in and of itself.
By layering EMV with the security of P2PE and tokenization, merchants can better authenticate cards used at card-present payment terminals, with the added bonus of securing that card data throughout the transaction process and within their systems and networks. This will ensure that their environment – and their customers’ payment information – is protected against the attacks of hackers.
POSDATA is your trusted source in the transition to EMV. We advise organizations of all sizes on payment processes and products. To learn more, Contact Us.