For Immediate Release
March 9, 2016
ABA Media Contact: Jeff Sigmund
(202) 663-5439
Follow us on Twitter: @ABABankers

ABA's Card Policy Council Calls for Increased Cooperation to Secure Payments System

WASHINGTON — In recognition of National Consumer Protection Week, the American Bankers Association’s Card Policy Council today called for all consumer-facing industries to implement the latest payment protection technologies and data safeguarding practices.  National Consumer Protection Week, March 6-12, is a campaign that encourages consumers nationwide to take full advantage of their consumer rights and make better-informed decisions on a variety of topics, including credit cards and technology.

“Consumers deserve the safest payment system with state-of-the-art protections, and we invite retailers to partner with banks by taking common-sense measures like activating their chip credit card readers and accepting secure mobile wallets,” said Jess Sharp, executive director of the Card Policy Council. “Consumers deserve strong, consistent safeguards to stop the loss of private information to criminals.  As retailers store increasingly sensitive consumer data, they should be held to the same standards as credit card issuers.”

Financial institutions have long been subject to robust data safeguarding standards, and continue to invest billions of dollars into cutting-edge solutions designed to keep consumers safe. These innovative technologies and services include:
  • Issuing EMV Chip Cards: Over the past year, the payments industry has equipped American consumers with hundreds of millions of EMV chip cards to eliminate magnetic strip credit card counterfeiting. There are now more chip cards in the U.S. than in any other country in the world.  This is the biggest payment security upgrade in decades and each retailer that activates their chip card terminals is joining the fight against fraud.

  • Deploying New Innovative Technologies: Dynamic technologies such as tokenization, biometrics, and encryption are being introduced by banks and networks to prevent more advanced threats. By innovating, the payments industry is staying one step ahead of the criminals.

  • Providing Round-the-Clock Fraud Protection: Banks and payments networks employ teams of experts using advanced computer systems called ‘neural networks’ to monitor transactions and detect unusual activity, preventing fraudsters from using stolen account data.

  • Protecting Customers with Zero Liability and Purchase Protections: Payment card users feel safe knowing that they have exceptional fraud protection that usually exceeds legal requirements, including the zero liability policies of the major card brands.  Oftentimes, they also receive other benefits like credit monitoring or warranty extensions when they pay with their cards.
While the payments industry is leading the way with private sector initiatives, policymakers can ensure consumers are protected by enacting sensible guidelines for securing consumer data. The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), signed into law late last year, was an important step toward opening lines of communication between the public and private sectors about hacking threats and removing obstacles that hinder quick and effective action.

An urgently important piece of legislation, the Data Security Act, is designed to prevent and mitigate consumer data breaches in largely unregulated sectors like retail. This important update to existing law is being considered in both chambers. The ABA strongly supports S. 961 and H.R. 2205, which will ensure that all entities which handle sensitive consumer financial information have robust data security safeguards in place.  Financial institutions are already subject to the data safeguarding requirements of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999, while other industries still have little or no oversight of their data security practices.

“Hackers are hitting the weak points in the transaction chain, which are often exempt from the robust safeguards that banks have supported for decades,” said Sharp.  “By using the latest technology and best people, banks and payment networks will continue to fight back against the international criminal rings that are trying to defraud consumers. We remain eager to further engage other sectors in this important mission.”

Resources Available to Consumers
Consumers and policymakers looking to learn more about what they can do to protect financial data can visit the ABA’s resource center for cybersecurity and fraud.


The American Bankers Association is the voice of the nation’s $16 trillion banking industry, which is composed of small, regional and large banks that together employ more than 2 million people, safeguard $12 trillion in deposits and extend more than $8 trillion in loans.
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