StorefrontBacktalk Podcast: PCI—Clarity Or Flexibility?

Written by Frank Hayes
January 6th, 2011

When PCI was created, it was given a massive burden: to come up with a comprehensive set of security guidelines for any business that accepts payment cards, from Wal-Mart down to the two-store Phil’s Bait Shop chain. Today, that burden is at the center of a key PCI debate: clarity versus flexibility. Is it better to have concrete requirements, so everyone knows what to expect, or to have more options, so PCI rules can be more easily adopted to a wide range of merchants? It’s the topic debated in this week’s PCI podcast.

The changes in PCI 2.0 that add flexibility will definitely open the door for more debate and potential conflict, says Aaron Reynolds of Verizon Business. “Most of the clients are really frustrated,” he adds. “What most organizations are looking for is really, ‘how do I get there, and how can I get there with assurances that I’m not doing all of this for naught and the rug’s going to be ripped out from under me?'” Reynolds drills into the benefits and downsides to the new rules in the latest StorefrontBacktalk podcast on security. To listen to the podcast, please click here.


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Most Recent Comments

Why Did Gonzales Hackers Like European Cards So Much Better?

I am still unclear about the core point here-- why higher value of European cards. Supply and demand, yes, makes sense. But the fact that the cards were chip and pin (EMV) should make them less valuable because that demonstrably reduces the ability to use them fraudulently. Did the author mean that the chip and pin cards could be used in a country where EMV is not implemented--the US--and this mis-match make it easier to us them since the issuing banks may not have as robust anti-fraud controls as non-EMV banks because they assumed EMV would do the fraud prevention for them Read more...
Two possible reasons that I can think of and have seen in the past - 1) Cards issued by European banks when used online cross border don't usually support AVS checks. So, when a European card is used with a billing address that's in the US, an ecom merchant wouldn't necessarily know that the shipping zip code doesn't match the billing code. 2) Also, in offline chip countries the card determines whether or not a transaction is approved, not the issuer. In my experience, European issuers haven't developed the same checks on authorization requests as US issuers. So, these cards might be more valuable because they are more likely to get approved. Read more...
A smart card slot in terminals doesn't mean there is a reader or that the reader is activated. Then, activated reader or not, the U.S. processors don't have apps certified or ready to load into those terminals to accept and process smart card transactions just yet. Don't get your card(t) before the terminal (horse). Read more...
The marketplace does speak. More fraud capacity translates to higher value for the stolen data. Because nearly 100% of all US transactions are authorized online in real time, we have less fraud regardless of whether the card is Magstripe only or chip and PIn. Hence, $10 prices for US cards vs $25 for the European counterparts. Read more...
@David True. The European cards have both an EMV chip AND a mag stripe. Europeans may generally use the chip for their transactions, but the insecure stripe remains vulnerable to skimming, whether it be from a false front on an ATM or a dishonest waiter with a handheld skimmer. If their stripe is skimmed, the track data can still be cloned and used fraudulently in the United States. If European banks only detect fraud from 9-5 GMT, that might explain why American criminals prefer them over American bank issued cards, who have fraud detection in place 24x7. Read more...

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