January 3, 2017Card networks and large banks are closest to implementing improved user authentication techniques for payments, while merchants and acquirers are farthest away, according to the third part of a three-part white paper from the Electronic Funds Transfer Association (EFTA). The EFTA, a non-profit group representing a range of payments companies, noted in the paper that all stakeholders, including merchants, have acknowledged the importance of moving beyond passwords to protect digital commerce, but that merchants and acquirers have been busier with other, more pressing projects. “Merchants and acquirer processors have been lagging behind, but are now beginning to build the business case justification for user authentication, particularly in support of online shopping,” the organization wrote in the paper. “These industry groups have been mired with EMV and tokenization implementations and haven’t had the bandwidth or commitment to prioritize this any higher in their development queue.” As a result, the paper said, merchants and acquirers reported they are only at the point where they have budgeted for new authentication solutions. ATM owners, by and large, report having such solutions in their development queue while large banks and the card networks said they have solutions in production. No matter where they sit on the implementation continuum, however, the ETFA recommended authentication become part of a layered payment security approach that also leverages end-to-end encryption and tokenization.