Heartland Payment Systems, the nation's fifth largest payment processor, has commercially launched its new, state-of-the-art payment card security technology, making it available to merchants and business owners nationwide. Heartland has spent over two years developing the technology. Another 10 months was spent beta testing and improving the system — called E3. It is designed to protect credit and debit cardholders by scrambling their data to make it useless to cybercriminals. The company announced the development at the National Restaurant Association Show.
"Data security is mission critical in today's world," said Bob Carr, Heartland CEO, in a news release. "That's why Heartland is taking a leadership role in making end-to-end encryption available and easy to implement for merchants large and small."
"While not a silver bullet, we feel this technology is a significant leap forward in helping the payments industry — as well as merchants and consumers — mitigate much of the risk of cybercrime. We have been working on this solution for two years now and are proud to be able to offer it to the stakeholders of the electronic payments world."
In today's world, protecting cardholder data is critical — for merchants and consumers alike. In the past two years, there were more than 650 reported breaches, a significant number considering many believe the majority of breaches are never reported.
To protect against this, E3 features layers of security using both software and tamper-resistant hardware. It employs the Advanced Encryption Standard of encryption (AES), the most secure encryption algorithms available. E3 encrypts all Track 1 and 2 data from the card's magnetic stripe the moment it is converted from analog to digital data and enters a merchant's system as scrambled data, never storing card numbers or passing them through the merchant's system or network.
E3 is easy and cost-effective to implement. There are no changes to a merchant's daily routine or the speed of transactions — and no large equipment investment. Merchants purchase an E3 terminal or PC-based magnetic stripe reader/wedge at-or-below the prices of standard, less-secure processing equipment on the market today. E3 devices include EMV/chip card technology capabilities and the ability to update encryption technology.
Once the hardware is installed, merchants continue normal business operations — saving time and money because E3 automates the process of continually changing the encryption keys that convert sensitive account information to encrypted data. These necessary encryption updates are performed at no extra cost to business owners. Heartland also does not impose unneccessary monthly or transaction fees and "taxes" for E3 technology.
Additionally, Heartland helps the vast majority of merchants who use E3 complete the appropriate forms required for PCI compliance so they don't have to decipher the complexities by themselves.
Lastly, in the unlikely event of a data breach using E3, Heartland — with its "E3 End-to-End Encryption Warranty" — will reimburse a merchant's breach-related fines.