By acquiring two payment-security technology companies the past few months, Underwriters Laboratories Inc. contends it is in a position to provide its clients with conformance evaluation and security advice on virtually all aspects of payments.

UL acquired Collis Holding B.V., a Netherlands-based transaction-security provider, adding evaluation of mobile payment and electronic ticketing security to its services, the safety-science company announced April 2.

Northbrook, Ill.-based UL’s acquisition of Collis, which provides secure transaction technology for banks, governments, mobile-network operators and public transport companies, follows the January purchase of Witham Laboratories Inc. (see story).

In acquiring Melbourne, Australia-based Witham, UL expanded its security-review services from payment terminals to include software and back-office payment systems. Most notably, Witham represented the only lab in the Asia-Pacific region evaluating Payment Card Industry data security standards compliance for PIN-entry devices.

Add in the technology and testing services Collis provides, and UL executives believe their company’s lineup is stronger.

“Until recently, UL has provided verification, testing and engineering support for vendors of payment devices which are generally used at the point of sale,” Brian Watson, director of transaction security at UL, tells PaymentsSource.

The Collis acquisition adds much deeper engineering-support services for UL to offer, extending the company’s customer base to include banks, payment schemes, and systems integrators and developers, Watson says.

Collis provides software for evaluating the interoperability of a payment system, literally checking the safety of all points–from terminal to processor. That service bolsters UL’s role as an accredited qualified security assessor for PCI compliance testing, Watson says.

“We can now offer a greater range of services to our clients, including those clients from Collis,” Watson contends. “This is part of UL’s commitment to develop complete … service offerings for the transaction-security sector.”

Collis will join UL’s verification-services business unit in providing testing, inspection, audit and advisory services for the payments and various others industries and market segments.

UL has sold Collis services as an independent sales organization, or it supplied those services as a partner with Collis, to clients in the past, Watson says.

Watson did not disclose the UL fee structure for conformance evaluation or transaction system security testing, saying the company provides clients “a transparent pricing model” and charges fees typical of the market range for each type of service.

As the mobile-payments industry continues to grow, UL has been an important part of the mix, Watson adds.

UL has been “acting as a facilitator” in working with the payment schemes, mobile-device manufacturers, secure-element developers, application developers, mobile-network operators and others to ensure the safety of mobile pay, Watson notes.

Considering UL has been known as a technology safety company since it first established safety standards for an emerging consumer electrical industry in 1894, the company expects to do more of the same for the payments industry.

“UL has led the way in advancing safety science while enabling the fast pace of product innovation to grow,” Watson says.

As such, the company intends to parlay its reputation, global reach and technical capabilities to reduce the safety and security risks involved with payment and data transactions, he adds.

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