Leveraging PCI standards to accept mobile payments securely
Posted on 17 May 2012.
The PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) published a customized fact sheet outlining how merchants can securely accept payments using mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets.

The fact sheet provides merchants with actionable recommendations on partnering with a Point-to-Point Encryption (P2PE) solution provider to securely accept payments and meet their PCI DSS compliance obligations.

The ability to use smartphones and tablets as point-of-sale terminals to accept payments in place of traditional hardware terminals offers great flexibility. As mobile technology continues to change at a rapid pace, the Council continues to work with the industry to ensure data security remains at the forefront of mobile evolution.

This latest educational resource is the product of the Council’s Mobile Working Group and is the result of valuable input from leading merchants, vendors and organizations actively involved in the in the mobile payment acceptance industry. The document helps clarify and distill some of the more complex technology and security terminology into straightforward, practical guidance that can help merchants to:
  • Better understand their responsibilities under PCI DSS, and how they translate to mobile payment acceptance
  • Leverage the benefits of the Council’s recently published Point-to-Point Encryption (P2PE) standard and program
  • Choose a mobile payment acceptance solution that complements the merchant’s PCI DSS responsibilities, for example a P2PE solution provider.
The fact sheet also draws on recent updates made to the PIN Transaction Security (PTS) Requirements at the end of 2011, creating the foundation for data security in mobile payment acceptance.

Using this resource to guide them in how PTS and P2PE standards work together, merchants can better understand how to securely use external plug-in devices with smartphones or tablets to accept payment cards by first encrypting and securing the data at the point that the account data is captured. The smartphone or tablet has no ability to decrypt the data, thus simplifying PCI DSS scope for the merchant.

“We know merchants are eager to take advantage of their existing smartphones or tablets to accept payment cards,” said Bob Russo, general manager, PCI Security Standards Council. “And the Council and its stakeholders want to help the market to do this in a secure way. We’re excited about this easy-to-use reference that will help merchants understand how to use the suite of PCI Standards to enable their businesses while still keeping data security top of mind.”

As with all SSC fact sheets, this guidance does not replace or supersede any of the PCI Standards. The Council continues to work with the payments community to address mobile payment acceptance security and evaluate whether additional requirements are needed in this area. As part of this ongoing initiative, the Council plans to publish best practices for securing mobile transactions later this year.

“The PTS and P2PE standards are being leveraged by mobile solution providers today. With this fact sheet we hope to help merchants understand how these standards work and the options that are available to them for accepting mobile payments in a secure and PCI DSS compliant manner,” said Troy Leach, chief technology officer, PCI Security Standards Council.

The fact sheet is available here.





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