Retailers, debit networks form group to strengthen security

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Retailer associations and debit network providers have formed the Secure Payments Partnership, designed to address the ongoing problem of payment fraud.

Founding members include the Food Marketing Institute, National Retail Federation, National Association of Convenience Stores, National Grocers Association, First Data’s Star Network and the Shazam debit network.

“Payment security and the threats to it are only becoming more complex,” Hugh Gallagher, First Data senior vice president and head of Star Network, said in a Thursday press release. “No single industry has all the answers to get us to where we need to be. We must work collaboratively with input from all parties with a stake in the outcome, in order to improve payment security and limit fraud.”

The partnership will also focus on meeting consumer expectations for security, convenience and flexibility in payment options, especially as new technologies emerge.

“The payments system has to keep pace with rapidly evolving technology and the needs of consumers and commerce,” Stephanie Martz, senior vice president and general counsel of the National Retail Federation, said in the release. “The U.S. payments infrastructure should be the strongest, most innovative and most secure in the world, but we won’t get there unless we change the way we make security decisions.”

The partnership forms against a backdrop of new technologies including mobile and wearable payments, biometric authentication, artificial intelligence, geolocation, IP verification, blockchain, ultrasonic sound detection, and others.

“As innovation and technology continue to evolve and offer new ways to authenticate, we are committed to working in concert with our partners to address shortcomings in the payments system,” Dan Kramer, senior vice president of government and community affairs at Shazam, said in the release. “We look forward to working across the industry and with policymakers in Washington to implement real solutions.”

The group will emphasize stronger user authentication, open standard setting and adoption, payment security innovation and network routing competition.

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