How Technology Is Making Your Wallet a Safer Place

Shifts are coming to the way individuals pay for things. And this could actually be beneficial to us all.

The changing landscape
Whether it be Google (NASDAQ: GOOG  ) (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) , the PayPal unit of eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY  ) , or the rumors of other technology titans preparing to enter, the payment industry is poised for change.

Yet while the technologies offered by these leaders generates a lot of attention, what garners little discussion is whether or not those firms will be able to use their existing understanding of security to push for greater safety in the payments landscape.

After all, payment security is a massive consideration these days. It was one of the driving forces between the recently announced partnership of MasterCard (NYSE: MA  ) and Visa (NYSE: V  ) which is seeking to make the networks themselves safer and more secure.

In the video -- with the transcript provided -- below, Motley Fool contributor Patrick Morris speaks with Matt Getzelman of Coalfire, a risk management firm, at the payments industry TRANSACT14 conference. Matt provides insight on what the entrance of firms like Google and eBay mean to security, and how the partnership between MasterCard and Visa is indeed good for the broader industry as a whole.

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A full transcript is below


Patrick Morris: Having said that -- and this is just a more general question -- some of the key players in this revolution that is often at the forefront ... you hear of firms like Google with Google Wallet, then you hear of PayPal. These are two technology titans that have really endeavored to go into the mobile payments perspective and the industry itself.

Is the thought there that perhaps firms like these will be more aware of the potential vulnerabilities that exist, or do you think the concern extends ... although they're currently involved in the technology industry, they're simply still as vulnerable as perhaps some of the others that are out there?

Matt Getzelman: I think there are pros and cons to both.

I think you make a great point; when you think about the Googles and the Amazons and those type of organizations, it's kind of their MO, and they understand the technology maybe a little bit better than some of the card brands or the financial industries. So, in some sense, they're better suited to adapt to some of those challenges immediately.

On the other hand, they may be a little bit newer to some of the specific financial vulnerabilities that come around with financial payment processing systems, so it's a bit of a give-and-take, but I do expect to see these new, giant players really give the whole industry kind of a kick in the butt, because they're going to be bringing some really exciting new technologies to our industry.

Morris: That's interesting. That's one thing that I think a lot of people take in.

From your perspective, the technologies -- you hit on some of it earlier, whether it be EMV or tokenization -- one of the things that I think is great is, just last month, we learned that MasterCard and Visa had formed this partnership that in turn allows for them to create this industry group that's pushing for that.

From the broader industry perspective, is that what you guys hope to see, is more collaboration among the different firms within the industry, to really push for that greater security?

Getzelman: Absolutely, if there's a time where we can all come together and get through these challenges, because they affect all of us.

One of the things that we've been fortunate enough to participate in is the Acquirers Working Group -- a kind of a step below the card brands, but the same principle. These are essentially competitors, but they're coming together to work toward common security goals and processes.

It's fantastic, and we need it, especially with these new emerging technologies. It's going to be a fantastic opportunity to work together and really make sure we have a secure payments base.

Morris: That's fascinating. That's really interesting, and it's certainly encouraging to hear.

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  • Report this Comment On May 11, 2014, at 4:42 PM, PhilipCohen wrote:

    Here’s the classic “PreyPal” story …

    “PayPal’s new POS service is a Piece Of Sh*t”

    An early but still relevant—and accurate—summary of the clunky “PreyPal” POS offering, “Pay Here With PayPal” …

    Rakesh (“Rocky”) Agrawal blogs on technology; a list of his other comments on eBay’s clunky “PreyPal” products can be found at

    However, “Rocky” recently accepted the “shilling” offered by eBay’s Johnny Ho and took a position as a paid “PreyPal” shill—see the sub-item “PayPal-related tweets” at

    It is truly amazing what a little money can do to change a person’s perceptions …

    [Sound of explosion!] Well, that sojourn did not last very long …

    Hmmm, too much to drink, maybe; then, what other basis could there be for such an outburst, from a so-called “technology” commentator, about some of his “PreyPal” co-workers? Regardless, a claim of “truth and public interest” may well have been a valid defence …

    Someone has to protect we mere consumers from the criminal eBay’s clunky “PreyPal” operation. At least “Rocky” can now go back to honestly appraising—and justifiably denigrating—“PreyPal” products, as he has quite well done in the past …

    eBay Inc, where the incompetent mingle with the malevolent and the criminal ... ‌

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Patrick Morris

After a few stints in banking and corporate finance, Patrick joined the Motley Fool as a writer covering the financial sector. He's scaled back his everyday writing a bit, but he's always happy to opine on the latest headline news surrounding Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett and all things personal finance.

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