Merchant Link SecurityCents

A blog that comments on the latest developments in the world of payments, payment data security and technology, PCI compliance, and more.

Posts Tagged ‘ secure credit card processing ’

Avivah Litan is a vice president and distinguished analyst in Gartner Research and is a renowned expert in the area of payments security.   She regularly publishes key industry research reports with regards to PCI compliance, has a well-read blog and is often quoted in the media discussing PCI compliance and payment security – among other things. Following is an exclusive podcast with Avivah Litan who discusses key payment security trends and highlights the value of end-to-end encryption and tokenization.

With more than 25,000 guests visiting each month, Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, owned by the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, is known for providing luxurious accommodations, the finest cuisine, exciting entertainment, and a world-class casino.

Fantasy Springs is also on the cutting-edge when it comes to payments and transaction security.  Following is an exclusive podcast with Don Lindsey, Fantasy Springs Resort Casino’s Director of Information Technology, who discusses transaction security trends and their use of tokenization.

Have you ever wondered how tokenization secures credit card data?  Dan Lane, Merchant Link’s CTO, not only understands why it works, but can explain why tokenization solves the problem of securing data at rest.

But Dan raises another security issue that merchants should also be concerned about: How do you secure data in-flight?  In the video below Dan explains why merchants should be just as concerned about data in-flight and explains how, in the millisecond it takes credit card data to travel from merchant to authorizing bank, a full copy of the mag stripe can be pulled and a credit card stolen.

While we hear a great deal about the threats to consumer credit card security, we don’t hear that much about the issues facing merchants, just criticism and finger pointing when they suffer a breach.

At Merchant Link we understand how complicated it is for merchants to navigate their way through the payment processing system to ensure the safety and security of their customers’ personal information.

Our CTO, Dan Lane, spends a lot of time thinking about these problems and devising solutions for merchants who are confronted with a lack of resources and too many vendors touting too many products.

In the video below Dan outlines his top tips and suggestions for merchants looking to protect their brand and their customers against ever-evolving threats.

Hotels Remain Primary Target for Hackers

By Sue Zloth

Hackers are now stealing credit card data from hotels more often than any other industry. With nearly 38% of data-breach investigations in 2009 originating from hotels, the industry must come together and develop standards, beyond PCI, to ensure credit card processing is secure.

In fact, just last week during HITEC, which is one of the largest lodging conferences, discussion around security was buzzing on the show floor.

While we were talking about the importance of security, Destination Hotels and Resort was reporting that it had suffered from a credit card fraud scheme which impacted 21 of its hotels across the United States. Data from more than 700 guests across the country was involved.

According to a statement, Destination said it uncovered malicious software in its credit card processing system, inserted from a remote source. Investigators believe the breach was isolated to locations where credit cards were physically swiped.

Hotels Moving Data Off-Site

Attacks such as these are exactly why so many hotel and lodging chains are working hard to get out of the credit card business. PCI is just not enough. It is simple – having credit card data on-site is enticing to hackers. A layered approach to security including tokenization and encryption which allows for credit card data to be removed from the site gives hoteliers the peace of mind that customers’ information is secure.

That is why some of the world’s largest hotel chains are turning to vendors to get them out of the credit card business. Tokenization is one of the solutions that is currently in use. By tokenizing credit card data, sensitive credit card information is removed from the merchant’s site and onto a PCI DSS certified network. If you remove the data, you can remove the risk.

Is moving data off-site the answer for the hotel industry? Join the discussion and post your comments below.

ORLANDO, Fla., June 15 /PRNewswire/ — HITEC Booth #515 — InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), whose brands include Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Crowne Plaza,  Candlewood Suites, Staybridge Suites, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts and Hotel Indigo, has signed a master agreement with credit card gateway and payments security provider Merchant Link.

The contract endorses Merchant Link as an approved provider for IHG’s franchisees in the United States, covering more than 3,000 hotel properties, and encouraging franchisees to evaluate Merchant Link products and services, which are designed to deliver security, assist with PCI compliance and provide faster, more accurate payments.

“In our search for a new payments gateway provider to introduce to our franchisees, IHG established a number of key criteria,” said Tammy England, director of treasury for the IHG Americas region.  ”We wanted to point our franchisees toward a hosted, gateway solution which would be easily upgradable and would not require the adoption of extra hardware or software.  We sought competitive pricing, wanting to help our franchisees eliminate pass-through fees by third-party processors.  And, we insisted on a high level of responsive service.”

England added that having met these stringent criteria, Merchant Link also distinguished itself with its long-standing relationship with property management system (PMS) and point of sale (POS) system MICROS, the primary property management system software provider to IHG hotel franchisees.

“Competition, guest expectations, and increasingly sophisticated and determined identity thieves are all out there — and, no doubt, contributed to IHG’s evaluation of new gateway solution providers,” said Merchant Link Chief Technology Officer Dan Lane.  ”We are pleased and honored that IHG has selected Merchant Link as an approved provider for its franchisees.  We look forward to a long and productive relationship with those franchisees throughout the Americas region.”

About InterContinental Hotels Group

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) (LON: IHG, NYSE: IHG (ADRs)) is the world’s largest hotel group by number of rooms. IHG owns, manages, leases or franchises, through various subsidiaries, over 4,300 hotels and almost 630,000 guest rooms in nearly 100 countries and territories around the world. The Group owns a portfolio of well recognised and respected hotel brands including InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts, Hotel Indigo®, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn® Hotels and Resorts, Holiday Inn Express®, Staybridge Suites® and Candlewood Suites®, and also manages the world’s largest hotel loyalty programme, Priority Club® Rewards with 44 million members worldwide.

IHG has nearly 1,600 hotels in its development pipeline.  InterContinental Hotels Group PLC is the Group’s parent company and is registered in England and Wales.

IHG offers information and online reservations for all its hotel brands at and information for the Priority Club Rewards programme at For the latest news from IHG, visit our online Press Office at

About Merchant Link

Merchant Link is a leading payments gateway company, providing PCI compliance, secure solutions, data transport services and comprehensive technology to merchants, software providers and credit card processors. Its premier product, TransactionVault, features the next generation of tokenization by replacing each card number with unique keys. Merchant Link currently supports more than 120,000 hotels, restaurants, ballparks, and other venues, and maintains connectivity to the major US payment card processors. Founded in 1993 and headquartered in Silver Spring, Md., Merchant Link handles more than 2 billion transactions for some of the world’s best-known merchants. Further information is available at