July 21, 2005, 12:00 AM

Hacked card processor asks Visa and AmEx to reconsider decision to cut ties

CardSystems Solutions Inc. is asking Visa U.S.A. and American Express Co. to reconsider decisions to cut their ties with the processor, whose lax security enabled a hacker to gain access to data for 40 million cardholder accounts.

The chief executive of CardSystems Solutions Inc. is asking Visa U.S.A. and American Express Co. to reconsider decisions to end their relationships with the processor, whose lax security enabled a hacker to gain access to data for 40 million cardholder accounts.

In a statement released late yesterday, CardSystems CEO John Perry said the company is “disappointed” that Visa and AmEx announced their intentions to discontinue doing business with the processor.

“If Visa and American Express do not reconsider, the effect of their decision on thousands of our merchants is likely to be significant and could disrupt the operation of their payment card system,” Perry said. “Many of those merchants will need to find a new payment processor, obtain new software, and retrain their employees on a new software system.”

CardSystems processes transactions for more than 105,000 small to mid-size businesses, including online retailers. Its partner programs include Authorize.net, geocerts.com and USA.NET.

Visa and AmEx earlier this week announced they are terminating their relationships with CardSystems, effective Oct. 31. Visa says it is terminating its approval of CardSystems as a Visa processor and third-party agent because the company isn’t able to provide the proper data security for Visa accounts.

MasterCard International and Discover Financial Services say they are working with CardSystems to correct the security problems. “We are heartened that MasterCard recognizes that CardSystems is on the path to becoming fully compliant with the industry’s security standards,” Perry says.

AmbironTrustWave, an independent auditor, says it expects CardSystems to be compliant with security standards by Aug. 31. MasterCard has said its relationship with CardSystems will be “at risk” if the processor can’t demonstrate compliance by that date.

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