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How safe are the card details you share at a hotel?
Thursday, 23rd January 2014
Source : Lillian DíCosta

Exclusive: Today your debit or credit card is accepted in places of all type Ė from your hair dresser to your hotel. Most of us hardly think twice before flipping out our card and handed it to the cashier at the desk.

But perhaps itís time for a rethink, and to ask that crucial question, how safe is my card?

No, I donít mean that your card could be swiped twice or that the commercial establishment may misuse your card details. What you do need to be concerned about however is whether the card data stored by the commercial establishment are safe with them or not.

What threatens your card details?

Hacking is becoming increasingly common and hackers are trawling the web for systems connected to the internet and easy to break into. One soft target is hospitality properties like hotels and restaurants.†

We are hard pressed to find many readily available figures. However Doug Meal, partner at Ropes & Gray, cites statistics from Verizon Business and the United States Secret Service. He said ďdata breaches at hospitality-related businesses account for as much as 40% of all data security breaches .Ē This is not hard to believe.

Hotels welcome hundreds of guests each year, over time they build up a large database with card details that go all the way to your CVV number. With few hotel software having PA DSS compliance this could snowball into a huge problem.

With an increasing number of people travelling, cards are the best way to make payments while on the move.† However, the next time you hand over your card at a hotel you may want to inquire if their software is PA DSS certified.

What is PA DSS Certification?

A PA DSS Certification means the hotel stores your card details in a 128-bit encrypted format. This ensures it is hacker proof. Also the data is stored for a predetermined period of time before being disposed.†

Hotel managements in the small and mid-size hospitality segment prefer to keep costs in check and purchase software from relatively unrecognized vendors. Often this software may be untested and may not meet safety standards.

While it serves the needs of the hotel, this may have serious consequences at worst or inconveniencies at best, for the card holder. However, itís time consumers make the places they stay at accountable for the information given to them.

One of the few hotel software that has a PA DSS certification is IDS NEXT Software. With a linage of thought leadership that spans 26 years, they chose to stay ahead of legal requirements in India and ensure their software is PA DSS compliant. Their software is being used by +3200 hotels across India and 40 countries and provides peace of mind not only to hotels, but their customers as well.†

Lillian DíCosta, Senior Manager, Marketing, IDS NEXT Software. She can be contacted at

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