John Arato has been in the payments industry more than 25 years and at MagTek Inc. the last eight. Previously, he spent seven years selling transaction services at American Express Co. and 10 years at Hypercom Corp. heading up sales east of the Mississippi. But his current position at MagTek has been the most rewarding.
"It's a lot of fun," he said. "MagTek is really on the forefront of providing security technology to the industry, and a lot of that has moved over to mobile payments products. So we've taken what we've learned over the last five or six years in point of sale, and now we're incorporating that into mobile."
MagTek offers MagneSafe (technology that encrypts cardholder data directly at the POS terminal), MagnePrint (authentication technology that detects the unique mag stripe "fingerprint" of each payment card) and now QwickPAY, a downloadable mobile payment app that, combined with a reader that fits over mobile devices, transforms the devices into payment terminals that accept mag stripe cards.
With QwickPAY, a merchant downloads the free app to an Apple iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, as well as Android smart phones, and purchases the "sleeve" from one of MagTek's approximately 100 ISO reseller partners. In the sleeve rests MagTek's four layers of security: encryption, authentication, tokenization and dynamic data.
"If you use our readers and you use our technology, the likelihood of you being out of PCI scope is very high," Arato said, adding that this should be of critical value, especially to smaller merchants. Fraud is migrating from Level 1 merchants to the Level 4 mom-and-pop retailers, and if a small merchant is breached, the card brands can levy fines that can put a business out of business, Arato said.
Arato believes MagTek's solution can help small businesses go beyond the requirements of the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS) and keep payment data safe. "Crooks are getting very smart," he said. "They know they can target somebody with a PC - let's just say a delicatessen who is doing their transaction through a PC. They could easily put malware on that PC and steal the data from that customer - very easy to do. It happens all the time."
Given that reduced costs have made state-of-the-art security technology available to even the smallest merchants and that those merchants are the most vulnerable to attack from fraudsters, one can see where Arato gets his passion for data security.
"Whether it's a large merchant accepting payments or a small mom-and-pop, they need to find a way to secure their data," he said. "PCI has certainly provided a role in helping the industry get along, but I just think there are other things in addition to PCI that customers can do."
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