One place exists where Christopher Kenyon, chief information officer and executive vice president of systems and technology at Elavon Inc., does not want to see his company’s name: in a headline for a story about a data breach.

That is part of the reason why the Atlanta-based payment processor announced June 8 it has signed security-services agreement with San Diego-based Semtek Innovative Solutions Corp. and Palo Alto, Calif.-based Voltage Security Inc., two competitors that provide advanced encryption services. Elavon also offers its own advanced encryption products to merchants.

Semtek and Voltage offer services that encrypt transaction data from the point of sale until it is decrypted within Elavon’s network.

Elavon’s inclusive strategy is to ensure that its more than 1 million merchant-processing customers have choices, given the lack of an industrywide standard for advanced encryption and tokenization services, Kenyon says. Having said that, however, Elavon, a unit of Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp, has no plans to strike deals with every security-services vendor, he says.

“We have two competing vendors with different methodologies,” Kenyon tells PaymentsSource. “We have a very vast client base with very different needs.”

Not all merchants will want or be able to use the same encryption or tokenization products, he says. “We have lots of different merchants with lots of different configurations,” Kenyon says, noting no one company has an advanced encryption product tailored to each and every merchant, he says.

Elavon’s approach is different from payments-industry companies that have developed their own advanced encryption products or have chosen to use a single vendor.

“The differentiator is we’re much more open to meeting the needs of [merchants] with various technologies,” Kenyon says.

Though Elavon has geared its advanced encryption products to its larger merchants, the processor could adapt them for smaller retailers as warranted, Kenyon says.

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