Visa, MasterCard clarify stance on naming merchants after breach

Leagues inquire on behalf of credit unions

ONTARIO, CA (June 15, 2015) — The California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues have received official confirmation from Visa and MasterCard regarding an important issue in the ongoing discussion on card data breaches: Nothing in the network rules or contracts prohibit a credit union from naming a merchant when communicating with members following a security breach.

Both electronic payment networks stated this in two separate letters that were in response to an inquiry submitted by Leagues President and CEO Diana Dykstra. However, Visa and MasterCard warned of potential consequences when identifying merchants.

The inquiry is one of several initiatives taken by the Leagues in its ongoing advocacy efforts to hold merchants accountable for securing consumer data. Additionally, making those within the credit union industry aware of Visa and MasterCard’s response is another tool the Leagues are using to educate legislators and consumers about the lack of merchant security that exacerbates the harmful effects of a data breach.

Credit union leaders have been under the impression that payment network rules or contacts prohibit credit unions from telling members where personal information was breached. There have been conflicting reports as to whether this was a rule or part of contract agreements signed for services.

“The response from Visa and MasterCard is an important step,” said Jeremy Empol, vice president of federal government affairs for the Leagues. “Congress wants to see our industry do what it takes to make changes as it works on updating laws related to notification, reimbursement, and standards. Clarifying points such as these greatly assists in the legislative process.

The California Credit Union League

The California Credit Union League is based in Ontario, CA and is the state trade association for 361 credit unions headquartered in California. The League represents the interests of more than 10 million credit union members across the state who are member-owners of their credit unions. Credit unions help consumers afford life and prosper.

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