In the Fall 2009 edition of Update we addressed two workshops for which there were discussion papers in progress: Julia Cheney’s August 2009 workshop, “Anatomy of a Data Breach and Heartland’s Response,” and Susan Herbst-Murphy’s July 2009 workshop, “Findings from the Visa Payment System Panel Study.” We are pleased to announce that these discussion papers have been published. In January of this year we released the discussion paper that resulted from Cheney’s workshop. A summary of the discussion paper is below.
Summary: On August 13, 2009, the Payment Cards Center hosted a workshop examining the changing nature of data security in consumer electronic payments. The center invited the chairman and CEO of Heartland Payment Systems (HPS or Heartland), Robert (Bob) Carr, to lead this discussion and to share his experiences stemming from the data breach at his company in late 2008 and, as important, to discuss lessons learned as a result of this event. The former director of the Payment Cards Center, Peter Burns, who is acting as a senior payments advisor to HPS, also joined the discussion to outline Heartland’s postbreach efforts aimed at improving information sharing and data security within the consumer payments industry. In conclusion, Carr introduced several technology solutions that are under discussion in payment security circles as ways to better secure payment card data as they move among the different parties in the card payment systems: end-to-end encryption, tokenization, and chip technology. While HPS has been very supportive of end-to-end encryption, each of these alternatives offers its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
The discussion paper that resulted from Herbst-Murphy’s workshop, released in June, is summarized below.
Summary: For two decades, Visa Inc. has contracted with a market research firm to gather detailed information from U.S. consumers about the forms of payment they use when carrying out transactions at many types of merchants. This omnibus project, the Visa Payment Panel Study, has recorded the migration away from paper forms of payment to electronic and plastic payment methods, identified variation in preferred payment methods based on consumer demographics, and calculated a share of use for each payment type at the merchant category level. The Payment Cards Center invited Michael Marx, senior business leader, Visa Inc. Research Services, to conduct a workshop on findings from the Visa Payment Panel Study. This paper summarizes the information presented at that workshop, including indications from panel data about changes in payment behavior during the recent recession.