With data breaches on the rise for a number of years, more and more merchants are doing their best to secure credit card transactions online. Not doing so comes at a high cost, as consumers have become savvier with their shopping habits. These days, most people won’t buy from online stores that look unprofessional or can’t provide sufficient data security.
How can you make sure your business can securely accept credit cards? Start by creating a payment security strategy that features these three security measures.
1. PCI Standards
The purpose of the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Card Security Standards is to protect both businesses and consumers shopping online. These standards are the basis of a regulatory framework that offers a universal standard for using, storing, and handling credit card data. Following PCI standards helps retailers detect and prevent future data breaches.
PCI compliance isn’t legally required, but not following these standards can lead to serious problems. Beyond potential fines from card association members such as Visa and Mastercard, your business will have a much harder time warding off security threats. If your store is compromised, your business may also face class action lawsuits.
Tokenization is a security measure that allows you to protect credit card data while it’s in use. This method revolves around using tokens (randomly generated strings of characters) in place of customers’ sensitive information. You’ll then keep this token in your system, while the actual data is usually stored in a secure data vault or another off-site location.
That way, if your store is compromised, the hackers will only find tokens they won’t have any use for. This makes tokenization the perfect security solution for protecting your customers’ data from malicious parties. Of course, if you want to take advantage of tokenization, you’ll need to invest in a payment gateway that can enable and authorize it.
3. Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)
The best way to think of a secure sockets layer (SSL) is as a system of rules that ensures all data remains encrypted as it moves from a processing form to its destination. That destination will usually be your credit card processor. When the data gets to it, the processor confirms the payment, accepts it, and passes the transaction funds to your business.
Beyond encryption, your online payment system should also include the SSL protocol. This protocol adds further layers to the security wall housing your customers’ credit card data. When a consumer visits your store, their browser will let them know whether the site is safe to browse or not. If it’s not, there’s a good chance they’ll take their shopping elsewhere.