10 Ways to Protect Your Business and Customers When Accepting Online Payments

Does your business rely on online payment or credit card processing services? Have you taken steps to secure these payment channels? If not, you are at great risk of damaging your reputation, as all it takes is a single payment incident to lose customer trust. To avoid these costly problems that might lead to your downfall, here are 10 ways to protect your business and customers when accepting online payments. (Image source)

1. Electronic debit and credit card scanning

An efficient way of creating a smooth digital customer onboarding process is by introducing electronic debit and credit card scanning at signup or checkout pages. Verifying that every customer is using a valid and authorized payment card is the first step to preventing buyer fraud since it adds an extra security layer that is harder to crack.

It also protects the customer; no one can hack their accounts and make purchases, as they will need to have their original credit card for a transaction to be successful. A high-end credit card scanner is fast, built for use on modern smartphones, and highly reliable since customers can use it even under poor lighting conditions.

2. Attain PCI-DSS compliance

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) compliance refers to the set of requirements mandated by credit card companies to protect cardholders and their data. These standards are developed and enforced by the PCI Security Standards Council, and they are essential to all companies that accept online payments. The primary requirements for compliance include:

  • The installation and maintenance of firewall configuration
  • Use of updated anti-virus programs
  • Protection of stored cardholder data
  • Proper password protection
  • Encryption of transmitted data
  • Restricted data access
  • Regular security scans and vulnerability tests
  • Create unique IDS for user access
  • Development of in-house policies that address information security

3. Avoid storing customer payment data

Nothing ruins customer trust faster than credit card data breaches. To avoid these risks, you should avoid storing customer payment data. This is a role best left for specialized third-party transaction partners who can protect such sensitive information. If you must store any customer-related payment data, prioritize developing secure systems and adopting strict in-house measures to protect this data.

4. Get SSL certified

You need to secure your website by obtaining an SSL certificate from a trusted Certificate Authority (CA) to attain a secure protocol for encrypting sensitive customer information such as credit card information. SSL certification also enables you to verify server identity and makes your website trustworthy since you will gain the HTTPS tag that confirms to users that their information is secure.

5. Work with a reputable payment processor

Finding the right payment processor is a critical step to having secure online payment processes as it is the most efficient way of having a well-established payment gateway. This will simplify your requirements for PCI-DSS compliance and provide you with better control of how you manage all transactions. The confidence of relying on top-of-the-line payment technologies further saves you from most security threats and keeps you one step ahead of cybercriminals.

6. Use data encryption and payment tokenization

A fundamental step to securing your online payments is through data encryption. This is the first step to data protection as it encodes critical information making it unreadable to unauthorized third parties. However, data encryption is not enough to stop cybercriminals today, and for enhanced protection of your customers, you need to use payment tokenization. This works by converting sensitive payment information into a string of randomly generated numbers known as tokens. These numbers can then be securely sent over the internet without any worries about being exposed or intercepted through man-in-the-middle attacks.

7. Verify all transactions

A vital factor to consider when creating secure online payment processes is transaction verifications. The best ways to do this is by:

  • Use address verification services (AVS) to confirm whether a customer’s IP and billing address matches the one associated with the card they are using. This will help flag all suspicious transactions as a genuine cardholder always knows their billing address.
  • Requesting customers to enter their card security code (the three or four-digit CVV number on their credit cards) before a transaction can be completed.

8. Make it mandatory for customers to use stronger passwords

Most customer accounts are vulnerable because they use weak passwords that cybercriminals can easily crack. An efficient way to prevent this is to make it mandatory for customers to create stronger passwords that contain a combination of uppercase & lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. You should also make it more secure for customers to reset their password by either sending them a one-time verification code to their phones or email address. This will make it harder for unauthorized third parties to gain access to your customer accounts as they first need to take over their email accounts or mobile phones.

9. Implement 3D secure

3D Secure is one of the most effective payment technology innovations that helps protect your business from chargeback fraud while saving clients from unauthorized use of their credit cards. This technology works by creating a three-tier payment process that allows your business, financial institutions, and card networks to work together. As such, before a customer completes a transaction, they will have to go through an extra layer of security to verify they are the legitimate owners of the credit card in use. This can be in the form of entering a unique pin code provided to them, answering a personalized question or test, or authentication via a biometric scan.

10. Maintain updated systems

A common loophole that cybercriminals always abuse is the continued use of outdated systems. Stay ahead of the game by ensuring you maintain updated systems that offer the benefit of fixed bugs and security issues from previous versions. As a trickle-down, this will enable you to maintain outstanding payment transaction security at all times.

Endnote

Securing your online payment processes is a cornerstone of modern-day operations as it is the only way to protect your business and customers from fraud. Employ these best practices to avoid vulnerabilities that cybercriminals might abuse during or after a transaction.

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