PCI OVERSIGHT BODY IN THE WORKS: Five U.S. card networks reportedly are discussing the development of a formal organization to oversee the
Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, commonly known as PCI. The proposed entity, informally called PCICo, would include representatives of Visa USA, MasterCard International, American Express, Discover
Financial Services and JCB Co. Ltd. "We believe now that there is enough interest to make this an open standards body," MasterCard Chief Risk
Officer Chris Thom said at the Retail Data Security Forum in Chicago earlier this week. "This company will own the standard and manage its
evolution." Thom said the organization has established a legal framework and could be announced this summer. MasterCard confirmed in a statement to CardLine that the organization is expected to launch in the second half of 2006. Avivah Litan, senior analyst at Stamford, CT-based Gartner Inc., tells CardLine she's optimistic the entity will address merchant frustration over differing interpretations of PCI standards by Visa and MasterCard. "There's always been a lot of confusion," Litan says. "Now they'll speak with one voice, and that's an improvement." Visa and
MasterCard have been quick to stress that PCI requirements won't be eased. In its statement, MasterCard reported "there are no plans to make
any of the PCI requirements less robust." Visa released a similar statement on Monday (CardLine 5/22).