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Merchant Financial Cyber Partnership Issues Recommendations

SAN FRANCISCO — The Merchant Financial Services Cybersecurity Partnership issued a set of recommendations aimed at protecting the payments system. These recommendations were presented during a California cybersecurity summit and featured as part of a White House fact sheet.

The recommendations outline new ways companies can use technology to minimize data theft and also reduce the value of payment information if it is stolen or breached.

"Although the U.S. payments ecosystem is mature, vulnerabilities persist," the Partnership wrote as part of its presentation. "Continuing efforts of organized criminals and state actors to disrupt the operation and integrity of the payments system require all participants in the ecosystem to collaborate and thereby strengthen efforts to advance safety and security in the marketplace."

The Partnership is a consortium of several associations, including NACS, the Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing; American Bankers Association; National Grocers Association; National Association of Chain Drug Stores; National Restaurant Association; National Retail Federation; and Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA). The Partnership is co-chaired by Financial Services Roundtable CEO Tim Pawlenty and RILA President Sandy Kennedy.

To be successful thwarting cyberattacks, the entire payments ecosystem must work together, the Partnership noted. This can be done by making sure all stakeholders are afforded an opportunity to participate in a meaningful way.

"Ensuring consumers are protected from cybercriminals across the payments system is critical, and the merchant and the financial services industries need to continue to collaborate to enhance security measures and battle this common threat," Pawlenty and Kennedy said in a joint statement.

President Obama met Friday with technology CEOs in Silicon Valley in an effort to build support for tougher cybersecurity laws. Anthem Inc. was the latest company to suffer a data breach.

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