Retailers and ATM networks form new coalition to address payments security

WASHINGTON – The National Retail Federation, other retail groups and two of the nation’s best-known ATM networks announced today that they have formed a new coalition intended to improve the security of the U.S. electronic payments system ranging from credit and debit cards to emerging technology.

"The U.S. payments system should be the strongest, most innovative and most secure in the world."

NRF SVP and General Counsel Stephanie Martz

“The payments system has to keep pace with rapidly evolving technology and the needs of consumers and commerce,” NRF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Stephanie Martz said. “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.”

Initial members of the Secure Payments Partnership include NRF, the Food Marketing Institute, the National Association of Convenience Stores, the National Grocers Association, First Data’s Star Network and the Shazam network. The coalition marks the first time that companies from the financial services industry have joined retailers’ efforts to improve payments security.

SPP was formed to help guide the nation toward a faster and more secure payments system. The United States currently lags behind the rest of the world in card payment security, largely because Visa and MasterCard control security standards without sufficient input from competing card networks, merchants, consumers and financial institutions. NRF and SPP believe all parties involved in the payments system must work together to achieve successful payment security, increase transparency and limit fraud.

The group will emphasize several priority areas including stronger user authentication, open standards setting, payment security innovation and network routing competition.

The coalition will also focus on consumer expectations for security, convenience and flexibility in payment options, especially as technology evolves. In recent years, many new technologies have been introduced to increase security including mobile payments, biometrics (such as fingerprints, facial recognition and iris scanning), the use of artificial intelligence, geolocation and IP verification. SPP looks to harness those and other technologies to benefit all users.

NRF has led the retail industry’s efforts to improve credit and debit card and other payments security for years. Among other issues, NRF has demanded that the card industry enable the use of personal identification numbers with new EMV chip cards, saying the chips alone are not sufficient to prove that a person using a card is the legitimate cardholder.

About NRF
The National Retail Federation is the world’s largest retail trade association. Based in Washington, D.C., NRF represents discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs — 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy.