Q: What is AWS Payment Cryptography?

AWS Payment Cryptography is a managed service that can be used to replace the payments-specific cryptography and key management functions that are usually provided by on-premises payment hardware security modules (HSMs). This elastic, pay-as-you-go AWS API service allows credit, debit, and payment processing applications to move to the cloud without the need for dedicated payment HSMs.

Q: Can I use AWS Payment Cryptography?

If you are a payments service provider or processor that processes credit, debit, and stored-value card payments, you can use AWS Payment Cryptography.

Q: Why should I use AWS Payment Cryptography?

With AWS Payment Cryptography, you can move your payment cryptography operations to AWS and focus on evolving payment experiences, customer requirements, and business innovation without worrying about infrastructure management. AWS Payment Cryptography helps you simplify key exchange processes. AWS Payment Cryptography can help you reduce your compliance and audit overhead as well as infrastructure and operations costs. AWS Payment Cryptography helps reduce your operational costs by managing the entire HSM lifecycle and your key management requirements. 

Q: How do I start using AWS Payment Cryptography?

You can start using AWS Payment Cryptography through the AWS SDK, where you begin by importing or generating the keys your application needs for cryptographic processing. Once keys are available in the service, you can integrate your payment applications with AWS Payment Cryptography and start encrypting, decrypting, and translating payment messages through the AWS SDK or AWS CLI instead of your on-premises payment HSMs.

AWS Payment Cryptography has similarities to AWS Key Management Service (AWS KMS) and AWS CloudHSM. AWS Payment Cryptography is like AWS KMS in that it is a managed service that helps you create and control the keys used for cryptographic operations. However, AWS Payment Cryptography provides payment-specific key management and cryptographic functions backed by AWS managed, third-party payment HSMs that meet PCI and EMVCo standards. Also similar to AWS KMS, keys are secured by the service and managed as AWS resources. This provides immediate availability to HSMs for performance and can help you meet PCI key management requirements. AWS CloudHSM provides dedicated single-tenant HSMs that are intended for general-purpose cryptographic operations and requires customers to actively manage dedicated HSM clusters.

Q: Will AWS Payment Cryptography support manual key component entry?

No. With AWS Payment Cryptography, keys are exchanged using asymmetric cryptography and securely loaded into AWS Payment Cryptography without the need for manual key exchange procedures using techniques such as American National Standards Institute (ANSI) TR-34. However, you may use offline HSM devices to manually enter physically shared keys and then import the generated keys into AWS Payment Cryptography. If you or your partners are interested in learning more about implementing PCI-compliant asymmetric key import, please open an AWS support case and we will be happy to work with you.

Security and compliance

Q: How do I apply the shared responsibility model when using AWS Payment Cryptography?

AWS operates under a shared responsibility model. AWS has responsibility for HSM hardware security from when it leaves the manufacturer to ongoing operation and through when it is retired from the service and is destroyed. AWS also has responsibility for creation and management of HSM main keys. AWS Payment Cryptography APIs enforce the use of PIN blocks. Because the service stores all customer keys, the service is responsible for secure storage in key blocks and use of keys according to the ANSI TR-31 attributes. You are responsible for management of any key material before import or after export from the service and for correctly defining key attributes upon key import or creation. The service might return cardholder data or sensitive authentication data to your applications, which can impact the application's PCI Data Security Standard (DSS) scope.

Q: What compliance standards were considered in the design of AWS Payment Cryptography?

AWS Payment Cryptography is designed to meet PCI PIN Security, Point-to-Point Encryption (P2PE), DSS, and PCI 3-D Secure (3DS) compliance standards.

Q: Does AWS Payment Cryptography use compliant payment HSMs?

Yes, AWS Payment Cryptography performs all cryptography on payment HSMs that meet PCI PIN Transaction Security (PTS) HSM standards.

Q: How do I know AWS Payment Cryptography is secure?

AWS Payment Cryptography is designed so that no one, including AWS employees, can retrieve your plaintext payment keys from the service. AWS Payment Cryptography uses HSMs that have been validated under PCI PTS HSM to protect the confidentiality and integrity of your keys. Your plaintext payment keys never leave the HSMs, are never written to disk, and are only ever used in the volatile memory of the HSMs for the time needed to perform your requested cryptographic operation. Secure handling of HSMs for the service with dual control and integrity validation is maintained from manufacture through service integration, operation, and decommissioning. Service main keys can only be loaded onto these validated HSM within designated areas with AWS data centers. Updates to software on the service hosts and to the HSM firmware is controlled by multiparty access control that is audited and reviewed by an independent group within Amazon and a PCI-certified lab in compliance with PCI PTS HSM. All security, HSM management, and key management processes are regularly assessed by internal Amazon teams and third-party assessors.


Q: How will I be charged and billed for my use of AWS Payment Cryptography?

With AWS Payment Cryptography, you pay only for what you use; there is no minimum fee. There are no setup fees or commitments to begin using the service. At the end of the month, you will be charged for that month’s usage.

AWS Payment Cryptography is priced by API call, with tiered pricing, and a monthly cost per key.

For current pricing information, visit the AWS Payment Cryptography Pricing page.

Q: Is the AWS Free Tier available for AWS Payment Cryptography?

No, the AWS Free Tier is not available for AWS Payment Cryptography.

Learn more about product pricing
Learn more about product pricing

Visit the AWS Payment Cryptography Pricing page.

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