Consumers and organizations have a variety of options for making and receiving payments. While these payment types share the ultimate goal of transferring funds from payer to payee, the path those funds travel and the approaches employed for safely and securely completing transactions vary. The Secure Payments Task Force developed the Payment Lifecycles and Security Profiles as an educational resource and to provide perspectives related to:

  • The lifecycles of the most common payment types, covering enrollment, transaction flow and reconciliation
  • Security methods, identity management controls and sensitive data occurring at each step in the payment lifecycles
  • Relevant laws and regulations, and other references, as well as challenges and improvement opportunities related to each payment type

The profiles employ a consistent format for describing the lifecycle of each payment type. The lifecycle template is not designed to represent the nuances of specific payment transaction flows, but as a broad taxonomy that can be applied across different payment types for understanding and comparing controls and risks. The profiles are not all-encompassing in describing the layered security strategies that may be employed by specific networks, providers or businesses and shouldn’t be considered an assessment of overall security of different payment types. The improvement opportunities noted in the profiles highlight areas for further industry exploration and are not intended as guidance or specific solutions to be implemented.

These valuable resources were developed through the collaborative efforts of more than 200 task force participants with diverse payments and security expertise and perspectives. It is the hope of the task force that by helping industry stakeholders better understand these payments processes, the security and risks associated with these processes, and potential improvement opportunities, they will be well positioned to take action to strengthen their payment security practices.

Note:  These materials were created by the Secure Payments Task Force and are intended to be used as educational resources. The information provided in the Payment Lifecycles and Security Profiles does not necessarily reflect the views of any particular individual or organization participating in the Secure Payments Task Force. The document is not intended to provide business or legal advice and is not regulatory guidance. Readers should consult with their own business and legal advisors.

Feedback and/or questions related to the Payment Lifecycles and Security Profiles can be submitted by using the “provide feedback” form.

This overview supports the Payment Lifecycle and Security Profile for the Automated Clearing House (ACH) Payment Type.

Automated Clearing House Definition: An ACH payment (credit or debit) may include direct deposit payroll, Social Security payments, tax refunds, person-to-person (P2P) payments and the direct payment of business-to-business and consumer bills. Within the ACH system, the originator is the entity that originates transactions, and the receiver is the entity that receives the credit or debit payment (i.e. the payment is credited to or debited from their transaction account). The transactions pass through sending and receiving financial institutions that are authorized to use the ACH system.

Overview of Laws, Regulations and References on Payment Security (Including Challenges and Improvement Opportunities)

Legal and Regulatory References

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Other References

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Challenges and Improvement Opportunities

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Last Updated: 02/21/2018