NCR Counterpoint Blog

The 3 Key Components of Payment Security for Retailers

Posted by Kendall Reed on Jul 22, 2015 1:25:00 PM

Data encryption, EMV, credit card storage, payment security threats…as retailer, we hear these words all the time but what do they mean and how do they affect us? With the threat of credit card breaches looming over the industry, navigating through the different credit card security features can be overwhelming. Below we’ll outline the top three components that can help you protect your business and your shopper’s card data. 


1. How the Card Data is Transmitted: Point to Point Encryption

Point to Point Encryption (P2PE) is a protective process that is used when a card’s information is being transmitted through the point of sale system to the credit processor. From the moment your shopper swipes their card, their card number is encrypted. Each credit card has a different encryption key so it will remain encrypted throughout its entire lifecycle in your environment.

The key benefit of point to point encryption for retail is that it reduces the risk of criminals targeting and stealing credit card data as its being process through your system to the credit card processor. 

2. How the Card Data is Stored: Tokenization

Also known as token replacement, Tokenization is the most secure method of credit card data storage. Tokenization stores a “token” instead of an actual card number. With the token, a retailer can still access the transaction information if it is needed for returns or such operation, but the actual card data is never stored.

The key benefit with Tokenization is if the system were breached, unauthorized users would only find the token information, not the actual credit card data.

3. If a Fraudulent Card is Used: EMV

EMV helps prevent fraud by devaluing card data. EMV credit cards use a computer chip rather than a traditional magnetic stripe card. While the magnetic stripe’s data on traditional cards is unchanging, the computer chip in the EMV cards creates a unique code for each transaction. Thus, if the card information was stolen during a transaction, the unauthorized user wouldn’t be able to use the information again.

The benefit is that EMV makes stolen card data more difficult to use, particularly for fraudulent card present transactions. It will take some time for the U.S. to fully adopt EMV, but it is a significant addition to protecting credit card data.

While each component certainly has its benefits, using all three together will offer you the highest level of credit card protection currently available for retailers. This layered security approach will greatly reduce the risk of a credit card breach and give you peace of mind that your business and your shoppers’ card information is protected.

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Topics: Security, EMV