(BPT) - The rise in cyber-attacks in recent decades has reached unprecedented levels, significantly elevating concerns about the security of personal data. This fear stems from high-profile data breaches, such as the infamous Target breach in 2013, where cybercriminals stole millions of credit and debit card records and customer data by exploiting vulnerabilities in Target's gateway server through a third-party vendor. In the aftermath, Target faced legal action from state attorneys general in forty-seven states and D.C., leading to enhanced data security measures to protect consumers.
Currently, 79% of U.S. consumers trust the security of credit card networks, making credit card payments their preferred method of payment. However, the escalating cyber security threat landscape merits a closer examination of potential risks to personal data.
The digital payments realm is booming. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of digital transactions, providing faster, more accessible, and sometimes contactless payment methods. Despite the added convenience digital payments offer consumers, they come with certain risks. As digital revenues have increased in popularity, cyber hackers have devised ways to gain access to your personal information associated with your card data. This jeopardizes your personal data, as cybercriminals can expose your information and steal your payment details to cash in on your dime.
Proposed credit card routing legislation could put your data security at risk. The proposed bill would shift routing decisions from banks and consumers over to merchants, decreasing network security and putting companies and consumers at risk of security threats.
Here are three key reasons why your personal data could be at risk:
- Merchants Would Fully Control Routing: Merchants potentially gaining control over transaction routing could redirect billions of dollars through less secure payment networks, straining American financial institutions. Unlike banks, which already have fraud prevention measures in place, merchants may opt for less secure payment networks, increasing data security risks.
- Consumers Could Lose Their Network Choice for Payments: Routing mandates could eliminate consumers' ability to choose the network through which their payments are being routed. This could lead to banks issuing updated credit cards with additional payment networks, shifting routing control from secure banks to potentially less secure, merchant-driven networks, and compromising data security.
- Less Interchange Revenue Would Impact Fraud Protection Funding Levels: Simply put, less interchange means less money for consumer fraud protection. Capping interchange and network fees would reduce funding for data security and consumer fraud protection. These fees are vital for credit card payment infrastructure, supporting fraud prevention. By paying less to banks and card networks, merchants might opt for less secure networks, putting consumer data at risk.
To address these concerns, it is imperative to continually improve data security measures, emphasizing the need to uphold consumer protection.