With so many touchpoints in the customer sales journey, it’s getting harder to lock-down retail payment chains against fraudsters (losses on UK-issued cards totalled £671.4 million in 2018). For many physical retailers, PCI compliance alone is no longer enough to ensure data security, protect customers and safeguard their business and reputation. That’s where point-to-point encryption (P2PE) comes in.
Why is P2PE important?
P2PE provides merchants with one of the most significant ways to minimize the risk of criminals stealing their cardholders’ data during in-store, face-to-face, card-present transactions.
What does it do?
P2PE protects credit card data from the point of sale (POS) as it travels through a merchant’s local network and across the internet before it reaches the payment processing system at the acquirer’s end.
How does it work?
It does this by encrypting data immediately upon entry from a payment terminal connected to the POS device to the third party secure environment where it is decrypted before authorization – from the starting point to the end point – hence its name. This encryption method utilizes complex encryption keys controlled by a P2PE solution provider, ensuring the merchant, or any third party, has no means of accessing the data traversing the network.
Why does this help?
Encrypting card data in this manner, means that even if a fraudster manages to capture it, they are unable to access the user’s ID or card data, without the relevant encryption/decryption keys. So, sensitive payment data can be safely sent through the entire payment chain without risk of compromise.
What about PCI Compliance?
P2PE is like a booster for PCI DSS – it goes further, is more exacting and safer than PCI DSS alone. And it makes achieving PCI compliance much simpler and less expensive too! That’s because it effectively takes the POS system and payment platform out of PCI scope, reducing time, effort and cost of compliance (but only if you use a PCI approved P2PE solution and provider, and follow the correct operational procedures).
Will it stop retail fraud?
No, it doesn’t prevent fraud using lost or stolen cards, but it does prevent criminals from accessing card data at the point of sale or while the cardholder data is in-transmission from the POS device to the payment processor.
Does it stop merchants using transaction data?
Not if you use it in tandem with a tokenization solution such as FreedomPay CardStorTM . This replaces the cardholder’s primary account number (PAN) with a ‘token’. Retailers can use tokens to identify the customer – for loyalty programs or automated form filling – and to supply transaction-based information to CRM systems and for business intelligence.
Is it hard or expensive to implement?
It can normally be integrated easily as part of your payment solution or platform using a PCI P2PE toolkit to provide the relevant encryption keys/pathways. If in doubt speak to your authorized payment provider. Any additional costs can often be quickly offset against time, effort and cost savings from PCI scope and audit reduction.
Still need to be convinced?
Here’s a quick summary of the benefits:
1. Simplifies PCI DSS compliance, reduces scope and cost
2. Extra data security without compromising customer experience
3. Minimizes risk of fraud, data breaches and subsequent fines, loss of custom and reputation
4. Data protection that keeps payment services simple
5. Used with tokenization, won’t affect loyalty programs or other commerce platforms
6. Software-based, easy to integrate – especially with FreedomPay.
Read more about payment security here.