Payment Processing: Today's Challenge

For the wheels of commerce to run smoothly, the act of paying for a product or service with a credit or debit card must remain easy, efficient, and safe. Because the process is so critical to both businesses and consumers, it is highly regulated—and constantly changing. Today each purchase launches a complex, automated, and highly integrated process involving not just merchants but also banks, acquirers, payment processors and potentially a host of other players. Not so long ago this community was a relatively small club of organizations operating a largely isolated network, but increasingly that is no longer the case. A host of changes—new technologies such as smartphones and digital wallets, shifts in buying habits, demands by individuals to accept card payments, and growing interest in peer-to-peer payments—have created a fierce battle within the industry, as organizations fight to maintain their position or disrupt the status quo. No longer a set of isolated processes, today’s entire payments ecosystem is just a component of the broader commercial landscape—playing an integral role in fraud management and data privacy as part of a comprehensive IT security framework that must span the Internet, mobile devices, social networks, and cloud services. As a result, payment processing organizations are under pressure to: 

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  • Exploit new technologies to simplify and enhance the user experience. Online transactions have already transformed the payments industry and the potential for contactless cards, mobile payments, and smartphones equipped with card readers could all herald the next revolution.
  • Accommodate peer-to-peer payments as they expand the market beyond the world of retail. Even in developing countries, the need to exchange funds has already triggered innovation beyond the traditional banking model.
  • Accelerate the transition to a cashless society by embracing micropayments for parking meters, vending machines, highway tolls, and other purchases that otherwise involve the unnecessary costs and inconvenience of handling cash.
  • Keep a firm grip on fraud. As e-commerce has proven, new technologies almost always expose new threats and drive up fraud, including not just misuse of the payments network but also the theft of data that can be exploited elsewhere. For many, coming to grips with card-not-present fraud is the next frontier.
  • Align with international initiatives and technologies. The payments network is a global infrastructure and attackers tend to exploit the weakest points. Global anti-fraud initiatives such as EMV and 3D-Secure are established in some markets and are in the process of rolling out in new markets—EMV in the United States, for example.
  • Ensure compliance with broad data privacy obligations. The evolution of the suite of PCI standards is only the tip of the iceberg for privacy mandates and data breach disclosure laws, most of which highlight the particular importance of financial and payments related data.
These pressures combine to create numerous technical challenges for organizations that accept and process card payments

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Risks Associated with Payments Processing

  • Compliance costs can escalate as the scope of regulation increases and technology certifications (such as PCI HSM) are mandated.
  • Failure to understand exactly where and how sensitive account data is stored and transmitted can prevent organizations from clearly defining and implementing data protection solutions. 
  • Attackers can steal and misuse data, leading to painful disclosures, adverse publicity, and fines.
  • Rising transaction volumes can lead to performance bottlenecks as inefficient processing limits capacity and degrades the customer experience.
  • Operational expenses escalate if new payment channels become established in isolated silos. Excessive reliance on legacy systems and management practices can cause companies to overlook the benefits of a converged approach to emerging opportunities.

Payment Processing: Thales e-Security Solutions

With the dedicated payments portfolio from Thales e-Security, you can satisfy your compliance obligations and create a high assurance yet flexible and easily managed payments infrastructure. Thales payShield hardware security modules (HSMs) and related products have been specially designed to meet and exceed industry standards and regulatory requirements for secure payments processing—and to keep your systems and internal processes flexible and scalable. Backed by Thales’ extensive expertise and leadership in the payment market and enriched by our long-standing partnerships with leading payments processing vendors, these proven products and services will reduce your risk, trim your costs, and help future-proof your payments infrastructure.


  • Manage cryptographic keys and hardware modules effectively and efficiently across your payments infrastructure.
  • Implement proven, certified, hardware-based security solutions with a choice of performance options to fit your requirements.
  • Accelerate deployments since Thales products integrate out of the box with payment processing software from leading vendors.
  • Simplify and in some cases reduce the scope of compliance obligations.
  • Take advantage of extensive EMV support and deployment expertise.
  • Provide a consistent HSM management framework between payment processing and card and mobile issuance operations.