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Underwriters Labs, First Data pair on secure payments

OMAHA, Neb. — Payment processor First Data Corp. of Omaha is partnering with an Illinois-based product testing and standards developer to help speed merchants’ transition to more secure credit card payment technology.

First Data is working with Underwriters Laboratories of Northbrook, The Omaha World-Herald reported.

Starting in October, merchants will be liable for fraudulent transactions if they don’t have equipment with an enhanced security “chip-and-PIN” system and banks will be liable if they have not issued chipped credit and debit cards.

Cards with chip-and-PIN, or EMV technology, are more secure from fraud than cards with traditional magnetic strips.

“For our retail clients that have to basically rework their point-of-sale systems to where you no longer actually swipe a card, this may seem rather benign, but what is happening is a big deal,” said Steve Mathison, First Data’s vice president of payment acceptance, who helped broker the deal. “This is tantamount to back when we ran the knuckle-busters on paper and changed to swiping cards.”

Sajeev Jesudas, a senior vice president at Underwriters Laboratories, said his company has “more than two decades of experience running EMV migration projects globally.”

Mathison said his company needs that expertise as it prepares for the technology switch.

“It’s no simple task to make sure that every single card from every single issuer around the world, whether it’s prepaid or debit or ATM or credit card, will work when you walk through the checkout lane,” Mathison said.