10 ways to protect your customers' credit card data
Accepting credit cards doesn't have to be a constant exercise in paranoia about whether your customers' credit card data is safe or not. Here are 10 solutions for protecting the credit card data of your customers.
1. You can’t go it alone
Like anything in life—when there's a lot on your plate, you can't manage it all without help. Card data security, fraud protection and securing your customers’ information in your store is more than a one-person job. It's everyone's job. Get everyone in your business, including your customers, thinking about card data security and fraud at the point of sale.
2. EMV installation
You're probably tired of hearing about EMV and chip cards at this point, but if you don't have one, you're putting yourself and your own profits in jeopardy. Chip cards, and the EMV-enabled credit card terminals that can read them, are designed to stop fraud at the point-of-sale. A "forged" card is difficult to pass with the new chip-reading technologies. And, the so-called EMV fraud liability shift began on October 15, 2015.
Simply put, that liability shift begins to move financial responsibility for fraud away from financial institutions and back toward the merchants who are accepting fraudulent cards. Now, under specific scenarios, you may liable for the financial costs associated with transactions that are made fraudulently in your store.
3. Encryption central
Admittedly, encryption doesn't sound simple, but it really just means that if hackers do manage to break into your systems, or the systems transmitting card data, the information that they do receive will not be readable. Many payment processors, and the terminal or POS system that you get through them or resellers, can quickly enable encryption features that offer you an important step in card data protection on the move. In fact, some merchant account providers also provide bundled fraud and security protection services that include encryption and which are affordable and easy to activate.
If your business also includes online transactions or recurring transactions used with card-on-file information, tokenization may be useful to you. Simply put, tokenization takes real credit card numbers and replaces them with card-like sequences that have meaning only to you and your credit card processor, who in most instances also stores that data for you. It lets you continue online and recurring customer transactions with greater piece of mind, knowing that card data is not being stored on your systems. This means, most of all, that the security of your customers’ information is strong and their privacy is protected.
5. A fraud tool kit
Sometimes you can unwittingly help criminals who pose as your customers. Make sure your payment solution has the tools necessary to help identify the behaviors, either online or in person, that raise the right red flags. This of course includes EMV readiness at the point-of-sale.
6. Stay Flexible
Data thieves and fraudsters are flexible, which means you do too. Scams tend to trend, so stay on top of what other people in the field are doing to prevent them and be ready to make changes quickly. Also, make sure that you're taking advantage of all education and learning available through your payments and point-of-sale providers—their partnership can go well beyond the payment transaction.
7. An evolved POS
Choosing an advanced technology terminal or point of sale (POS) system can not only speed up transaction rates, they may also enable many of the advanced data security and fraud solutions discussed here. In addition to built-in security and fraud protection many of these same systems allow your customers to pay with their mobile apps and phones. There are many benefits to updating the technology you use to transact.
8. Get alerted
When there's a problem, you need to know right away before even more damage is done. Using advanced fraud tools, including EMV, can stop transactions right in their tracks before any information is stolen or privacy breached. The immediacy of fraud tools that include real-time alerts from your payment processor help you take power over would-be fraudulent transactions.
9. Training day
Buying new equipment and using new technology is useless if you don't understand it. Make sure your providers give you the training you and your staff need to get the most out of new technology and fraud and security tools. You should also understand what kind of customer service you have access to and when it's available. You’re best off if it's whenever you're open and processing.
10. Choosing the right partner
It's absolutely essential you choose a payment processor that has experience across the world of payments today—processing technology, data security, fraud and more.
Don't let data thieves or fraudsters foil your business. Active thinking across these 10 ideas can greatly reduce damage to your business and your customers.