Around 50 high ranking industry representatives met at today’s “Payment in Dialogue” management forum in Frankfurt, to discuss data privacy issues relating to Germany’s electronic direct debiting scheme (elektronisches Lastschriftverfahren, ELV) with representatives of the data protection supervisory authorities. The forum was hosted by TeleCash GmbH & Co. KG, a First Data company and one of Germany’s leading network operators for processing card payments, together with retailing association Handelsverband Deutschland (HDE) and law firm Hogan Lovells.
TeleCash Managing Director, Mark Freese, was more than happy with the dialogue and information sharing among participants at the first event in the series, which is intended to promote discussion of key topics affecting the payments and retail industry: “The response to our event and vibrant exchange between delegates confirms that this is the right format for increasing dialogue between retailing and payment solution providers.”
A panel of selected experts gave presentations addressing the organisational and legal questions surrounding the latest data privacy legal guidance for electronic direct debiting by the data protection supervisory authorities.
Paul Monzel, director of Financial Services at REWE Zentralfinanz eG, noted that, from his perspective, a payment method for the retailing industry, such as ELV, must be safe for both consumers and merchants, as well as being simple and quick to handle at the point of sale. “This type of payment instrument has been in use successfully in the form of direct debiting for a number of years already. It is therefore imperative that ELV remains freely available, also as a competitor to other payment instruments,” he said.
In her presentation, Renate Hillenbrand-Beck, the longstanding head of the Data Protection Supervisory Authority of the regional state of Hessia, said that the data protection authorities of the German regional states of Hessia, Bavaria and North-Rhine Westphalia, in which the largest payment network operators are located, had agreed on uniform guidelines and sample texts (as used on pay slips etc.) for ELV. “As in the past, network operators can continue to supply returned debit-note information to all their affiliated merchants. In addition, payment data may be stored in a pan-merchant data pool, but only for a few days and for the purposes of combating fraud and limiting the risk of bad debt,” she explained.
The introductory presentations were rounded off with a talk by Professor Dr. Thomas Hoeren, director of the Institute for Information, Communication and Media Law at the University of Muenster. In his presentation on current trends in data protection for ELV, he emphasized, “It will only be possible to establish a clear statutory policy for the protection of data in ELV if the policy concerned is reliable and feasible for the retail sector; otherwise it will be of no benefit to the consumer concerned. In this respect, the topic has to be treated with due sensitivity and, unless urgent circumstances dictate, subjective statements should not be announced directly in public.”
Anna Bejaoui, senior counsel and head of the Legal department at TeleCash, pointed out that network operators’ and merchants’ processing of data for ELV needs clear and uniform data protection guidelines if consumer confidence is to be instilled in this payment instrument. “As a company whose day to day business involves processing consumer banking data, we are more than aware of our responsibility for this data. For years, we have been working side by side with data protection specialists. We are delighted at today’s opportunity to conduct this data privacy dialogue directly with retailers and the supervisory authorities.”
Further ‘Payment in Dialogue’ forums are planned for the future.
With more than 222,000 managed terminals and almost 900 million processed transactions, TeleCash is one of the leading network operators and service providers for card-based payments in Germany. More than 133,000 customers from the retail and banking area trust our long-term experience and rely on our integrated, industry-specific solutions as well as our efficient service. About 350 employees support our clients with the selection, purchase and installation of the appropriate hard and software, arrange for trouble-free operation and offer interesting value-added services, which help to increase revenues and customer loyalty. For more information, visit www.telecash.de.
For more information: www.telecash.de
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