Small Business Merchant Security Mandate

Small businesses are at high risk of a credit card data breach. To stem the tide of breaches, effective January 31, 2017, all level 4 merchants were mandated to only use Qualified Integrator & Reseller (QIR) for Point of Sale (POS) applications or terminal installation, integration or maintenance.The Payment Card Industry Data Security Council provides certification and maintains the official list of certified QIR people.  Any entity that installs Point of Sale in conjunction with a payment application must put at least one representative through the QIR training/qualification process.

What’s a level 4 merchant? Visa’s Level 4 merchant category encompasses businesses that process fewer than 20,000 Visa e-commerce transactions per year, and all other merchants processing up to 1 million Visa transactions, regardless of channel, per year. Visa has estimated this covers approximately 5 million merchants.

What is QIR Qualification? From the PCI Council:

QIR qualification is a set of requirements put in place by Visa for acquirers in an effort to ensure that small merchants are able to implement and maintain a secure Point of Sale environment. QIR qualification provides an opportunity for POS Providers (both VARs and ISVs) to receive training and subsequent qualification on the secure installation of PA-DSS validated payment applications into merchant environments so that said merchants can maintain ongoing PCI compliance. Many data breaches from past years could have been avoided if not for incorrect installation/maintenance of payment application and on-site merchant networks, so QIR qualification was implemented to ensure that only skilled/trained installers are installing payments products.

Who must be QIR certified? Anyone who touches something impacting the cardholder data environment, excluding internal employees. That could be the a Value Added Reselller (VAR) to a POS application. Or it could someone installing something from one of thousands of independent software vendors (ISVs) who provide payment applications that fall under the auspices of the PCI Security Standards Council’s Payment Application Data Security Standard (PA-DSS). People, not companies, are QIR certified, but all individuals are listed under company names.

qir certified speedyThe exam is tough. If you fail, there’s no feedback. Applicants must go back and study more, pay more, and retake the test. Annual continuing education is required to maintain certification. When I completed my exam, there were 452 certified in the world. Today, it’s 450, as two expired and did not complete renewal process.

Not enough companies are in compliance. It was $395 to take the exam and $150 to retake the exam until March 2018, plus ongoing annual recertification fees after year two. The PCI Council recently announced a change so it’s $100 for 3 attempts, plus $100 annually, in an attempt to get more people certified.

In my experience, most people involved in the payments process do not have the knowledge to complete an installation, or provide maintenance, unless they’ve been QIR certified. In my opinion, the longer they’ve been doing it, the more likely they are to use outdated techniques that put merchants at risk of a data breach. The same is true for application developers. There’s a ton of ‘trusted’ companies out there that integrate payments into web sites and other applications. They have a lot of experience. But payment processing is a moving target of complex security changes. Without specific training, including going through process of PA-DSS application certification, too many businesses are at risk.

Why should card not present merchants use QIR certified individuals? The QIR training encompasses all aspects of payments, including servers, networks etc. The QIR trained person is more likely to probe and identify potential weaknesses in any cardholder environment.

Why should level 1, 2, 3 merchants use QIR certified individuals? In my experience, there are weaknesses in businesses of every size. I can find a compliance problem in virtually any business. The key is to minimize risk and have a plan for continuous improvement.

Call Christine Speedy, QIR certified payments professional, right now at 954-942-0483, 9-5 ET.

CenPOS Launches PCI-Validated P2P Encryption

Florida-Based Payment Solutions Company, CenPOS, Strives to Make Customer Experience More Secure with Launch of PCI-Validated P2P Encryption.

Data breaches are on the rise and they are costing both consumers and merchants money.

The 2017 Identity Fraud Study, released by Javelin Strategy & Research, found that $16 billion was stolen from 15.4 million U.S. consumers in 2016.

When the consumer data that makes such fraudulent activity possible comes from the merchant’s database, then the merchant can also incur some major damages. In fact, the 2017 Cost of Data Breach Study: United States, found that the total average organizational cost of a data breach has reached a new high at $7.35 million.

CenPOS aims to reduce the vulnerability of sensitive consumer data — that could be used to drain debit card-linked bank accounts, make “clone” credit cards, or buy items on certain less-secure online sites — to hackers with the release of its Validated P2PE solution.

Officially released on July 7th of this year, CenPOS Validated P2PE encrypts cardholder data so businesses can simplify compliance with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) and consumers can stop worrying about data being stolen between “the store” and the bank.

Surprisingly, Validated P2PE is not new technology. It’s the strongest level of data encryption in the market right now and is offered by other merchant payment services companies. However, CenPOS is the first and only company with the Qualified Integrator & Reseller (QIR) designation to offer a Validated P2PE solution.

The QIR designation is awarded by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council, a global open body formed to develop, enhance, disseminate and assist with the understanding of security standards for payment account security.

According to their standards, “the quality, reliability, and consistency of a QIR Company’s work” should provide confidence that the merchant’s payment application has been implemented in a manner that supports PCI DSS compliance.

Chris Justice, CEO of CenPOS, is quoted saying: “We believe that loyalty is built on trust and that trust is built by delivering great customer experience over and over again. So, when consumers can have greater peace of mind because they know that the merchant has the proper data security in place to reduce exposure to painful events, like data breaches, we believe customer experience is enhanced and that consumer will choose that merchant over others who are less diligent.”

CenPOS Validated P2PE launched on Friday, July 7, 2017. To learn more, visit https://cenpos.com/solutions/data-security
More facts and further information about CenPOS, can be discovered at https://www.cenpos.com/

About CenPOS
CenPOS is a merchant-centric, end-to-end payments engine that drives enterprise-class solutions for businesses, saving them time and money, while improving their customer engagement. CenPOS’ secure, cloud-based solution optimizes acceptance for all payment types across multiple channels without disrupting the merchant’s banking relationships. | CenPOS | @CenPOS

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Christine Speedy, 3D Merchant Services, is an authorized CenPOS Reseller. There is no middleman; all solutions offered are direct CenPOS agreements with CenPOS direct billing.