The internet is rife with fraud, so business owners and consumers alike are understandably wary of who they transact with. Customers do not want to give their money to seemingly shady businesses that might take their money and run. Likewise, merchants do not want scammers ordering products or services and not following through with payment. To ensure a safer market and business landscape, it is essential that companies provide secure payment processing solutions.
But how do you approach this as a business owner? You might find yourself in a situation where you want to leverage the most secure payment solutions available, but lack the technical knowledge to build it yourself. Fortunately, you don’t need to build it yourself—here are five tips to boost security for both you and your customers:
In 2004, major credit card companies and payment services worked together to establish the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC), which created 12 requirements that all merchants must comply with if they wish to accept card payments. Adhering to these requirements is what is commonly referred to as “PCI Compliance.” The intention is to protect sensitive cardholder information as securely as possible, so the guidelines cover how data must be handled during transmission as well as where it can be stored and verified.
Complying with PCI regulations can be a daunting task that many businesses are ill-equipped to handle on their own. However, third-party secure payment processing solutions can ensure PCI compliance on your behalf. If your business cannot monitor and maintain PCI compliance internally, we recommend finding a PCI compliant payment processing platform. That way, you can trust that data is being handled accordingly without worrying about it yourself.
When it comes to ensuring security, you are going to need a secure payment gateway and processor. A typical gateway receives a request for online payment on your website and redirects it to the processor. A secure card processor validates the purchaser’s card details, such as checking for sufficient funds, and authorizing payment if everything checks out. Secure processors leverage a number of features to authenticate a buyer’s virtual credentials while storing as little of their information as possible in case a third-party hacker attempts to access it.
Entrepreneur advises you to pay close attention to a secure payment processor’s encryption standards. This company will be handling your customers’ data on your behalf, but it will still reflect poorly on you if there is a breach. Tokenization, for instance, is an encryption technique that entirely removes card data, which lowers risk and reduces processing costs. The more layers of encryption there are, the safer your customers’ information will be.
One of the most essential features to have in a secure payment processing system is fraud protection. The payment processor you use should be able to alert you when it notices false requests for refunds or unauthorized transactions. Providing fraud protection capabilities also boosts your brand’s reputation. Potential customers will feel more comfortable doing business with you if they know that doing so is low-risk. Our payment processing platform, CurrencyPay, for instance, is a PCI-compliant payment processor and utilizes fraud protection technology.
There are non-technological steps you can take to prevent fraud as well. Monitor your orders by double-checking each one for accuracy before following through on your end of the transaction (regarding details such as street and email addresses). To provide the best merchant services, contact a customer to confirm a purchase before you accuse them of fraud or inform them that they might be a victim of credit card theft.
It is against PCI compliance to store all of your customers’ card information. While there are cases where businesses can maintain card numbers, it is expressly forbidden to store “track data,” which is information contained in the card’s magnetic strip or the security code on the back. This code is meant to verify that a consumer has the card on their person, and it only works if the code is not stored alongside the card number. It is recommended to use PCI DSS-approved equipment and software or other platforms that do not store track data and are less vulnerable to breaches.
Hopefully, you’ve already secured your website with an SSL certificate (many secure payment processing providers require this). If not, you need to host your website with its own unique IP address and install an SSL certificate, which you can purchase from a number of reputable providers. Once activated and installed, the beginning of your website’s URLs should read https:// instead of http://.
It never hurts to test your site though; especially for payment-related pages, such as where customers enter their card information. Run frequent tests to ensure that your website runs smoothly and SSL is properly installed. Remember to only ask for pertinent information you need to verify identities. Consumers know the importance of secure payment processing on websites, and a vast majority of them will not enter their payment information without proof that their data will be safe.
With the increase in digital commerce options, you should make sure your business can offer secure payment processing. Not only will this help you stand out from your competitors, but clients and consumers can also trust that they are not at risk of privacy violations, theft, or data exploitation. Fortunately, there are multiple secure payment solutions and measures you can take to ensure that protecting your customers’ information is as safe and seamless as possible.