Fifth Third Processing Solutions LLC later this year will roll out an advanced payment-data encryption technology platform for its merchant clients developed in conjunction with Voltage Security Inc., the processor said on Thursday.

Donald Boeding, Fifth Third president of merchant services, tells PaymentsSource that unlike some competing data-encryption services, Fifth Third’s card-data protection service is designed to function with all types of payment terminal systems, including those of national multi-lane retailers with complex back-office systems.

“There are many data-encryption solutions available in the merchant marketplace that offer portions of the solution, but to our knowledge no one else is providing the complete end-to-end encryption process from the point of sale through settlement in a multilane environment,” Boeding says.

Fifth Third’s offering is one of a growing number of data-encryption products processors and point-of-sale payment terminal manufacturers are developing on behalf of merchants, mostly as add-on services. Atlanta-based First Data Corp. on March 1 announced a pilot of its TransArmor data-security service, which it says goes further than other market offerings (see story).

Palo Alto, Calif.-based Voltage will provide its Voltage SecureData Payments technology for Fifth Third’s platform, using both data encryption and tokenization to protect card data.

Voltage is also providing its data-encryption technology to a variety of other payment industry operators. Taiwan-based point-of-sale terminal maker XAC Automation Corp. last month announced it will use encryption technology from Voltage in its new devices (see story).

And Fifth Third may harness other encryption technology solutions in addition to Voltage to develop its data-protection platform. “We are likely to incorporate other encryption solutions into our platform, because every (merchant) customer is different and we will develop customized solutions where needed,” Patrick Moran, Fifth Third senior vice president of product and portfolio management, says.

Fifth Third executives say one of its chief goals in offering the data-encryption service is to help relieve its merchants of some of the burdens of Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard compliance.

“Merchants are looking for ways to reduce the scope of PCI compliance,” Boeding says. “If merchants can demonstrate to their auditors that card data is encrypted during every step of the transaction, it can significantly reduce the time and effort that goes into PCI compliance,” he says.

Fifth Third will use “a variety of business models” in selling its data-encryption service to merchants, Boeding says. “Merchants can choose their level of engagement in this process, with or without buying data-encryption services directly from Voltage.”

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