The Tech News Blog

February 25, 2013

Visa, Samsung Team Up on Mobile Payments

Samsung Galaxy S III (U.S. Cellular)

Visa and Samsung today announced an alliance aimed at accelerating global mobile payments.

The deal, which combines Visa's payment expertise and Samsung's mobile technology, will allow financial institutions to use the Visa Mobile Provisioning Service to securely download payment account information to NFC-enabled Samsung devices.

Additionally, the Visa payWave applet will be loaded onto Samsung devices featuring Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, turning the smartphones into contactless payment options.

"Samsung devices enabled with Visa payment functionality will no doubt be a powerful product offering — especially in markets where paying with a mobile device is becoming commonplace," Jim McCarthy, Visa's global head of product, said in a statement. "However, the key to making mobile payments broadly available all over the world is to offer financial institutions a secure way to provision millions of smartphones with payment account information ... and that is exactly what Visa and Samsung are ready to deliver."

The two companies have worked on mobile payments before. They partnered in May 2012 for a limited-edition Galaxy S III smartphone for athletes and trialists competing in the summer's Olympic games. The specialized phones came with Visa's payWave technology for users to wave their device at the register to check out at participating London retailers.

April 2, 2012

Global Payments Breach Hits 1.5 Million Cards

Payment processing firm Global Payments said today that a recent breach affected approximately 1.5 million card numbers, and has prompted Visa to drop it as a firm that is compliant with payment card industry (PCI) standards.

In a Monday morning conference call, Global Payments chairman and CEO Paul R. Garcia said "we believe that this incident is contained."

"Fewer than 1.5 million card numbers may have been stolen," Garcia continued, and the "theft is confined to our North American processing system."

Garcia said Global Payments does not believe any card holder names, addresses, Social Security numbers, or consumer banking information was obtained by the criminals. The company's merchants and sales partners were also not involved, he said.

The incident was first reported last week when MasterCard and Visa notified customers that a then-unnamed credit card processor had experienced a breach. Visa later identified the company as Global Payments, and stressed that "there has been no breach of Visa systems, including its core processing network VisaNet."

March 30, 2012

Massive Security Breach Hits MasterCard, Visa; 10M Accounts at Risk

Where're just hours away from the $640M Mega Million lottery drawing, but it appears that some nefarious parties were looking to cash in a bit early at the expense of Visa and MasterCard cardholders. KrebsonSecurity is reporting that a "massive" security breach at a credit card processor has put 10 million accounts at risk.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the card processor is Global Payments Inc. and most of the accounts affected involve business/commercial credit and debit cards.

The data breach reportedly occurred between January 21 and February 25 of this year, but the information was not widely made public until today. Fox News reports that law enforcement agencies including the U.S. Secret Service are involved in the investigation. In addition, an "independent data security organization" is also analyzing the security breach.

February 27, 2012

Visa Paves the Way for PayWave Mobile Payments

EMV Chip Card

Visa said Monday that it had signed partnerships that will allow consumers to make purchases via an electronic version of their Visa card that's stored in their phone, likely this year.

Visa said that it had signed a deal with Oberthur Technologies to bring its payWave technology to mobile phones, allowing consumers to pay for goods, services, and even mass transit via a phone equipped with Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. However, Visa will be required to approve individual devices for its payment app, providing an additional factor for consumers to consider when selecting a new phone.

Visa said, however, that the one of the deals it struck was with Intel, which unveiled its own smartphone chip roadmap at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Monday evening, local time. Intel's existing "Medfield"-based Atom smartphone platform, which Intel unveiled at the Consumer Electronic Show in January, will be in phones from Lenovo and in an offering from Orange. That doesn't necessarily mean that both phones will work with Visa, a Visa executive said. That will be up to the carrier.

"I think what they do is show Visa's global leadership in the mobile payment space, and if you look at the three announcements, the one with Intel, for example, we're going to work with them on a number of global commerce solutions," said Brad Greene, a senior business leader of strategic partnerships and business development at Visa.

February 2, 2012

MasterCard, Visa Moving U.S. Credit Cards to ‘Chip-and-PIN’ by 2013

EMV Chip Card

MasterCard followed Visa's lead this week, stating that it too intends to move U.S. consumers onto so-called chip-and-PIN technology by April 2013.

MasterCard said that it was working with acquirers to move the United States onto the so-called "EMV" standard, ensuring that the payment infrastructure would be in place by the deadline.

In August 2011, Visa also put forward its own EMV timetablewith April 2013 as the date by which its U.S. acquirer processors and sub-processor service providers must support merchant transactions using chip-based cards.

What does this mean? As any recent traveler to Europe knows, the continent is increasingly moving to the so-called "Chip and PIN" technology, where consumers slide in a credit card with an embedded security chip inside, then enter a 4-digit PIN. Putting U.S. credit-card payment technology onto the same technological footing as other regions will mean fewer headaches for overseas travelers.

MasterCard, like Visa, also said that it is preparing for a world where consumers will pay in stores, online, and via mobile devices. However, the company did not promote a wireless technology, such as Visa's endorsement of near-field technology used by Google Wallet, for example.