In this digital age, accepting online payments safely should be a priority for any small business. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case, as evidenced by recent studies showing that 58% of customers fail to complete an online transaction due to security concerns. Since most small businesses are operating with lower margins, this can have a major effect on their bottom line.
The solution is simple enough: make sure your customers trust you to keep their data secure. Here are four simple ways you can do that without breaking the bank.
1. Ensure PCI Compliance
Following PCI Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) is an essential security measure in the card industry. This is a set of compliance regulations designed to facilitate safe payments and protect customers’ and businesses’ data against payment fraud. If you accept, store, or process credit card data, these regulations apply to you as well.
PCI compliance regulations can be complex, particularly if you don’t have an IT specialist on hand. A good first step to ensure compliance is to undergo an on-site data security assessment.
2. Don’t Store Payment Data
When it comes to customer data, there are strict standards for what you can and can’t store. For example, you’re never supposed to store CVV data. To avoid potential credit card breaches, it’s best to dispose of all payment information upon the transaction’s completion. If you need to keep some data, such as the customer’s name, take measures to protect it.
Another thing to keep an eye on: don’t include the customer’s full credit card number if you’re emailing them a receipt. Under the FACTA, you can only display the last five digits.
3. Choose a Trusted Processor
Whether you’re starting a new business or reevaluating payment providers, you’ll need a trusted partner at your side. Your payment processor of choice should accept all major card brands, mobile and contactless payments, and features like invoicing capabilities. Of course, they should also be backed by a reputable financial institution.
These days, most small businesses prefer an all-in-one payment processing solution. That said, be sure to look around for different solutions and pricing models that may be a better fit for you.
4. Use Encryption and Tokenization
Encryption and tokenization are often lumped together, but there are some crucial differences between them. The main one is how they handle the data they want to replace. Encryption keeps the original data intact and protects it with a key, whereas tokenization removes that data from the system and replaces it with an associated value.
For best results, you should make use of both security measures. Encrypt any data you store and consider accepting payments via digital wallets or cryptocurrencies.