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Retail, Financial Industries Partner to Protect Credit Card Data

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Fifteen Washington, D.C., trade groups representing banks and retail stores joined a new partnership this week focused on protecting payment data from hackers, saying they intended to work to share information about cyber threats and advance payment technology that is less vulnerable to attacks.
The move follows criticism from Capitol Hill about the industries’ failure to work together to protect consumers.
The drivers of the new partnership were Sandy Kennedy, president of the Retail Industry Leaders Association, which represents Target and other big retail chains, and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who leads the Financial Services Roundtable and represents big banks and the payment networks Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc.
A series of congressional hearings and news conferences about the Target breach in recent weeks has laid bare the differences between the two groups. The breach involved the theft of 40 million credit and debit card numbers from the company’s servers.
The new coalition will include working groups made up of experts from both industries. One early goal: Finding consensus on a national standard for notifying customers whose data has been stolen, to replace a patchwork of state notification requirements.
But the lobbying battles are likely to continue. The Credit Union National Association, which estimates its members have so far paid $30.6 million to reissue about 4.6 million credit and debit cards because of the Target breach, declined to join the new coalition this week. It is planning to advocate for more financial liability for retailers when it brings credit union leaders to Capitol Hill to meet with members of Congress later in February.
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