Visa’s Blog – Visa Viewpoints


Sep 20, 2013


Visa Security Summit 2013: Mobile Payments Security Requires a Little More Effort

Guest blog by Brad Caldwell, CEO, SecurityMetrics

Mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) has the potential to forever change the interaction between business and consumer. Because of the low entry barrier to obtain a smartphone or tablet device, many companies now offer mobile as a way for consumers to process their card payment.

Mobile devices were initially developed for communication and convenience, not necessarily security. Now that devices organize the important details of business and private lives on wireless data networks, security is high on the consumer wish list and requires a bit of extra work to achieve.

Many businesses are enthusiastic and ready to implement mPOS. Although seemingly technologically advanced, smartphones and tablets aren’t created with the typical security features that have evolved in computers over decades of development.

As more and more merchants across the world use mobile devices to process customer payment transactions, hackers will continue to adapt their strategies to gain the most sensitive and profitable information from mobile devices.

Unless security precautions are taken, credit card numbers, personal information, and passwords entered, texted, or saved into personal and business mobile devices may be at risk.

Don’t despair. Though mobile security is in its infancy, there are proven methods to securely process via mobile devices. Here are five tips to help your mobile processing strategies stay one step ahead of hackers.

1. Use an encrypt-at-swipe piece of hardware that attaches to your smartphone or tablet to securely process payment cards. Perform due-diligence when selecting mobile POS hardware to ensure it supports encrypt-at-swipe.

2. Minimize manual key entry of customer’s credit card data, even if a card stubbornly refuses to be swiped! While your hardware card reader may encrypt sensitive information at-swipe, your phone does not have that secure capability. Manually-typed data is not encrypted, and a rogue app could be recording those card numbers.

3. Always update both OS and app software so any discovered security holes can quickly be patched.

4. Use discretion when downloading apps. Many pieces of malicious software infect mobile devices by acting as a Trojan horse inside an app. Even some apps that look legitimate may be infected.

5. Use a mobile vulnerability scanner. A mobile vulnerability scanner, such as SecurityMetrics MobileScan, can check a device for security holes that may grant access to hackers.

As an industry leader in securing payments, SecurityMetrics is on the security front lines providing the technology needed to protect mobile devices. Visit them at for more information.

SecurityMetrics is a sponsor of the 2013 Visa Global Security Summit.  Visit them at the SecurityMetrics booth during the event on October 2. For additional information on mPOS acceptance, Visa has published a list of mobile acceptance best practices, which can be accessed here or visit our website for additional information.


Posted by: Brad Caldwell, CEO, SecurityMetrics on September 20, 2013 at 11:14 am

Jun 10, 2013

Accelerating the migration to electronic payments through mobile acceptance solutions

The way we pay has evolved dramatically over the last 50 years. The “electronification” of commerce has helped to stimulate economic growth, reducing inefficiencies and providing consumers convenient and secure access to their funds. Mobile technology, in particular the introduction of low cost mobile “card readers” is helping to drive the migration from cash and checks to electronic forms of payments.

From emerging markets, where traditional acceptance infrastructure simply does not exist, to farmers markets and coffee shops in developed countries, mobile point-of-sale acceptance is helping to displace cash payments and enabling merchants of all sizes – even the smallest ones – to accept card payments. It is an inventive solution from both the technology and business model points of view, which leverages the broad penetration of mobile phones to add acceptance to those segments of merchants where cash used to be the only available option.

At Visa, we see great potential to accelerate the migration to electronic payments through mPOS solutions. By helping to promote the use of these services in the Visa system, we believe they will have a greater uptake and benefit more consumers and merchants worldwide. But we want to do that in a responsible way, so to ensure that innovative payments like mPOS technology provides the same security, reliability and scale as traditional payment terminals.

This is why earlier this year we launched the Visa Ready Program, a streamlined process for the testing and approval of new payment solutions that enables our business partners to more rapidly deploy products for use with Visa payments. Last week, we’ve announced five new leading mobile acceptance providers to join the program: AnywhereCommerce, iZettle, Miura Systems, SumUp and Swiff. Two of them, AnywhereCommerce and Miura System, already have mPOS devices that are approved to accept Visa payments.

There are over two billion Visa cards around the world today and with every new mPOS device that is put out there lays an opportunity to displace paper-based payments. In the United States alone, mPOS can help to migrate more than $1.1 trillion yearly from paper to electronic payments[1]. This is a tremendous opportunity for solutions providers, financial institutions and merchants. Visa is ready to help our clients and partners seize this great momentum, while at the same time giving consumers the peace of mind they need to transact in the mobile channel.

For detailed information on last week’s announcement, click here.


[1] Javelin Strategy & Research, Mobile POS (Point of Sale) Business and Market Impact 2013: Emerging Technologies Expand Reach with Lower Cost, Disruptive Services, April 2013,


Posted by: Matt Dill, Global Head of Business Development on June 10, 2013 at 11:56 am