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Quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns

Week 11, 2011

The payment industry has set up a global model based on the combination of security measures at all levels: physical security in the terminal, and in the card in case of smart cards, logical security thanks to application certification, and development limits on secure processors, and also by using cryptography means at all steps in the payment process, system security during payment processing, human security by performing background checks on both merchants and cardholders, and legal security by exercising rights to sue in case of fraud from any of the stakeholders in the payment chain.

This full set of security measures has been slowly built over the last decades, by adding security layers and processes. Thanks to these decades of experience, confidence has been built for cardholders and merchants alike to trust the payment system.

Every so often, someone comes up thinking payment should be simpler and cheaper, and builds a downgraded version of a payment card accepting device. And he realizes that a simplified approach compromises security, and cannot be certified by authorities (PCI, EMVCo, etc.), as security cannot be proven.

Now, as payment means become more diverse, more controversies of this kind will arise. It is part of our role as an industry to prevent setup and use of unsecure payment means, otherwise the confidence we have built over the last decades could vanish quickly.

Thierry Spanjaard

Chief Editor

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