By Ben Rafferty

New guidance and compliance changes have been recently implemented aimed at reducing (and responding to) the growing data and payments fraud threats. Here are the most pertinent ones that Canadian contact centres should be aware of.

Revised PCI guidance
The Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) unveiled its revised guidance for Protecting Telephone-based Payment Card Data in late 2018. Updated for the first time since 2011, it provides direction to ensure compliance with the PCI Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), which applies to any merchant in any country accepting card payments. The guidance also provides critical technology and process recommendations to secure payments and keep customer data safe.

Here’s a summary:

> Additional call recording controls. Call recordings may contain cardholder data (CHD) and sensitive authentication data (SAD) even when pause and resume technology is in use. Recordings that contain CHD/SAD must be securely deleted, while contact centres should only allow single call recordings to be retrieved or listened to by authorized senior managers. The guidance also provides considerations around monitoring the effectiveness of controls for call recordings with, in particular, data leak detection and protection;

> Pause and resume solutions need more supervision. A proper pause and resume solution could reduce the applicability of PCI DSS by taking call recordings and storage systems out of scope, but the technology does not reduce PCI DSS applicability to the agents nor their desktops, phone or chat environments. The new guidelines specify a need for greater supervision of manual systems and prescribe testing for automated systems;

> Be careful with VoIP and softphones. The adoption of VoIP and softphones create an opportunity for massive scope creep as they are often connected to the desktop environments for processing payments. Therefore, contact centres that do not segment their data and telephony networks will require a host of additional PCI DSS controls; and

Embrace dual-tone multi-frequency (DTMF) masking. Recommendations for DTMF masking stand out within the guidance as one of the most effective solutions for keeping sensitive authentication data completely out of the contact centres and maintaining PCI DSS compliance. DTMF masking solutions can be used to securely capture and process credit card payments taken over the phone. But beware of “DTMF bleed”. The guidance warns that a misalignment of the masking, allowing even two-three milliseconds of the digit’s sound to be exposed, will bring you back into scope for PCI DSS. Check that your solution has built-in bleed prevention.

New merchant requirements
Visa Canada released its new compliance requirements in October 2018 through the Visa Contactless Payment Specification, which is outlined below. These changes have been expanded to include all e-commerce transactions and to those Canadian merchants taking telephone payments:

EMV technology. With the introduction of EMV technology, Visa found that as of July 2017, almost 93% of Canadian-acquired card present transactions have been via chip-and-PIN. However, a small number of merchants have yet to adopt chip technology terminals and are consequently continuing to put consumers’ payment card information at risk. Because of this, Visa has made it a requirement that all merchants be chip-enabled by October 2020;

Contactless payments. Contactless payments are also becoming more prevalent. In fact, the majority of contactless terminals in Canada support both magnetic stripe data (MSD) and quick Visa Smart Debit/Credit (qVSDC) transactions. But they have also been used for fraud, where criminals have used mobile applications to emulate Visa MSD contactless magnetic stripe transactions and use a transmitter that replicates the authentication data, either on a cloned card or a mobile phone, at merchants with contactless acceptance. As a result, Visa will require that effective October 2019, all contactless acceptance devices in Canada not support MSD; and

CVV2 Codes. Since October 14, 2017, all new e-commerce or telephone order merchants have been required to capture Card Verification Value 2 (CVV2) and include them in the authorization requests during Visa transactions. Further, if an issuer approves a “no-match” transaction—for example, a CVV2 is provided but it doesn’t match the cardholder’s account—the issuer is 100% liable for that amount. This offers an added layer of protection for merchants

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. Additionally, all merchants in Canada are now prohibited from requesting CVV2 for mail-order transactions if the data is provided in a written format. This reduces potential for that information to be stolen and used fraudulently.

It should be noted that these changes will not be applicable for credential on file, recurring or installment payments or Visa commercial card virtual account and digital wallet transactions.

How these changes help
These new guidance recommendations and compliance changes are helping merchants combat new-age security and privacy risks associated with making credit card payments. As merchants accept more payments over traditional and new communication channels—such as VoIP, web chat, softphones and chatbots—adhering to compliance best practices and implementing new technologies will become even more critical to keeping customer data safe and avoiding costly fines.

We encourage all merchants to take full advantage of the new compliance and recommendation resources available to them so they can prepare for the future. For more information on PCI DSS visit: and on Visa’s Contactless Payment Specification visit

Ben Rafferty is responsible for heading up product innovation at Semafone ( advising on new product development and new markets and technologies to facilitate customer compliance programmes.

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