September 6, 2006, 12:00 AM

Visa warns retailers about improper storage of card data

Visa has issued a security alert to merchants not to store magnetic stripe data, card verification values, PINs and other card-related data elements after a transaction is authorized. Visa says there have been recent data breaches involving such data.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

 

Visa U.S.A. has issued a security alert to merchants not to store magnetic stripe data, card verification values, PINs and other card-related data elements after a transaction is authorized. The card association says it is issuing the alert because of recent data breaches involving improper storage of such data.

Under Visa regulations, retailers may store specific data from the magnetic stripe only to support card acceptance: cardholder’s name, primary account number, expiration date and service code. All data should be stored in accordance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, Visa says. All retailers, including online merchants, must be PCI compliant.

“Merchants can also decrease their risk by only storing cardholder data if it is needed to perform their business functions,” Visa says. “”If you don’t need it, don’t store it.”

Visa is advising retailers to make sure that their point-of-sale systems don’t store prohibited data, and to expunge any such data from their systems. Retailers also should verify that their POS software is compliant with Visa Payment Application Best Practices available on the Visa web site, the association says.

 

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