Before the 1996 Telecommunications Act, you couldn't port your phone number if you changed providers. That was clearly problematic for a lot of reasons. The same problem exists today in the payment processing world. The majority of providers will not allow merchants to port the credit card data stored on a merchant's behalf. This limitation can put a merchant in a real bind.
To try and help address this problem, we created a Credit Card Data Portability initiative (press release). It's an opt-in community of payment providers that agree to allow a merchant to port credit card and other associated information if the merchant ever decides to move to another provider. We hope other like-minded providers will join us and participate. Providers can maintain the Credit Card Data Portability logo on their website to demonstrate participation. Providers are encouraged to make any terms and conditions available.
We've included a recommended data transfer approach to ensure that any data transfer is both secure and in compliance with the PCI Standard. We think this is positive step in the payments industry that will help eliminate vendor lock-in and promote free market principles of fair competition.
If you'd like to discuss Credit Card Data Portability, we invite to join the Credit Card Data Portability Google Group.