Mercury is left unfazed by security breach

Company has no plans to change way it processes debit, credit cards

Taylor Enlarge photo

Taylor

Despite a security breach of an estimated 1.5 million credit- and debit-card numbers, Mercury Payment Systems hasn't changed the card-processing company it uses, an executive said last week.

“We remain a supporter of Global,” said Matt Taylor, Mercury's CEO.

Global Payments Inc., a leading provider of electronic-transaction processing services for public and private businesses and organizations, announced late last month that a security breach into its system put at risk an estimated 1.5 million VISA and MasterCard numbers.

Global Payments is the third-party processor Mercury Payment Systems uses for processing credit-and debit-card transactions for its merchant customers, some of which are local.

Mercury Payment Systems is a fast-growing, Durango-based electronic-payment processing company that recently exceeded 500 employees on its payroll.

Global Payments self-reported the security breach March 30, according to a company news release. The security of card numbers was compromised, but consumers' sensitive information, such as names, addresses and Social Security numbers, were not.

“It's crucial to understand that this incident does not involve our merchants or their relationships with their customers,” Global Payments Chairman and CEO Paul Garcia said in the release.

The company is making “rapid progress toward bringing this issue to a close,” Garcia added in a subsequent release.

Taylor said local customers and merchants shouldn't be overly worried. The number of cards affected is small compared with the nearly 1 billion cards circulating in the country. Also, the security breach was much smaller than some past security breaches at other processing companies.

But residents always should watch their card statements for unauthorized transactions, Taylor said.

“Potentially any cardholder in the U.S. could be affected, including local residents,” he said.

Global Payments and Mercury Payment Systems have no way of knowing which cardholders were affected, he added.

Locals who find fraudulent charges on their accounts can work with their banks to have the transactions removed or refunded, he said.

Global Payments now will undergo a forensic security audit with VISA and MasterCard to get their names back on the credit companies' list of certified processors.

“That's a standard procedure when there's a breach,” Taylor said, but it doesn't affect the company's ability to process credit- and debit-card transactions.

“We are open for business and continue to process transactions for all card brands,” Garcia said.

Taylor said Mercury Payment Systems isn't looking for another processor in light of the problems because Global Payments has been “a great partner over the years.”

“It's very unfortunate they had this breach, but it doesn't put us or our customers at risk, and Global is dealing with this very responsibly,” Taylor said.

hscofield@durangoherald.com