Fintech Insights

5 methods to accept credit cards securely at your business

John Rampton - Founder and Chairman of the Board, Due

July 08, 2019

Whether you accept credit cards online, through a mobile device, by phone or mail, or with POS equipment, there are some methods you can employ to ensure that every transaction is as secure as possible. These security methods put a considerable amount of technology to work on your behalf to provide reassurance to your customers – and to you. The tech is applied to add additional barriers and keep them in place to deter those crafty criminals out there looking for points of vulnerability to steal personal and financial data. It's important to develop some type of payment security strategy for your business.

1. EMV compliance:

EMV, also known as a chip card or a smart card, has become the global standard for credit and debit cards that’s based on microchip technology that was developed by Europay, MasterCard and Visa to enable acceptance of secure payment transactions. The microchip technology contains better security features than those available for the long-used magnetic stripe credit and debit cards. The chip enables cryptographic processing, helping to keep data safe from identity thieves and those hoping to commit fraudulent transactions with the credit card information they steal. By migrating to acceptance of EMV cards only, you will be able to further protect yourself. While not everyone in the US has EMV cards yet, there is growing acceptance of this new technology as consumers and businesses that use credit cards appreciate the additional security offered.

2. PCI standards:

The Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard was put into place to protect consumers and businesses by creating a certain regulatory framework that provides a universal standard for how to handle, use, and store credit card information. These standards came about in response to the numerous data breaches among large and small retailers and were developed in order to help companies detect, react, and prevent future data breaches. Non-compliance not only leads to large fines from credit card association members like Visa and MasterCard, but it also puts your business in a vulnerable position for greater security threats that you don’t want. While it does not guarantee that you won’t have a data breach, PCI compliance does go a long way toward helping to deter fraudsters.

3. Tokenization

This security measure provides a way to not have to collect or store any sensitive information on your operating system. Instead, only minimal information is sent like authorization codes and transaction IDs. Tokenization takes the sensitive sensitive data and replaces it with a randomly generated string of characters that can then be linked back to the original data only by an authorized party. Not only does this work well with PCI compliance, which states that you should not store any data on your system, but it also makes you less vulnerable to criminals that want to get that information.

4. End-to-end encryption and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol:

This security method helps to ensure that all data remains secure as it goes from a card reader or other processing form to its destination. The finish line is typically the processor who confirms and accepts the payment so that it can pass the funds onto the business for that transaction. In addition to encryption keys, mobile and online payment systems should include Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol, which helps add further layers to the security wall to keep hackers away from sensitive data. These security measures have been found to be effective no matter what size business you have or the amount of transactions you process.

5. Biometrics:

Although biometrics has been around for quite awhile and used in various ways, it is now being applied to more types of transactions to turn to methods where criminals have a near-impossible way of imitating a person whether it is for in-person or online payments. This security method relies on biological identification measures that are unique to a particular individual, such as fingerprint scanning, iris/retina scanning, facial imaging, vein patterns, voice recognition, finger/hand geometry, DNA matching, and ear, gait, and/or odor recognition. While all of these biometrics methods may not be used specifically for payment application, the range of methods illustrates the incredible ways we can stand out and not be replicated in any way. While criminals will try tactics like fake fingers, they will find it difficult to get a person’s biometric data in order to even copy it. Fingerprint recognition is already used among many banks and payment companies, including PayPal, Capital One, and Apple Pay, which means many people are already accustomed to using this security method.

Of course, you also want to be sure to employ some of the most basic fraud protection tools at the same time, including Credit Card ID (CCV2) and the Address Verification System (AVS). Additionally, you also will want to stay updated on the latest tactics used by criminals to hack into credit card processing systems as well as train any staff you have on what to look for that could indicate suspicious activity.

Just remember that there is no one technology that can solve all security issues. Nothing here is going to be fool-proof, but it will add layers to your security that may lead fraudsters to dismiss you and move on to another company that hasn’t employed so many security measures.

Remain vigilant and use a combination of technology solutions, knowledge, and awareness to remain ahead of the fraudsters that are always focused on finding the next best way to get to that data.

About the Author

John Rampton is an entrepreneur, investor, online marketing guru, and startup enthusiast. He is the founder of the online invoicing company Due. John is best-known as an entrepreneur and connector. He was recently named #2 on Top 50 Online Influencers in the World by Entrepreneur Magazine and a Blogging Expert by Time. He currently advises several companies in the San Francisco Bay area.