How Safe Is Credit Card Processing?

Credit card processing can be done safely and securely, but only when the proper safeguards are set in place. Fraud has always been an issue for businesses, but advancements in technology and cyberspace have made the issue more pertinent.

To accept credit cards safely, businesses must implement credit card security measures, regardless of whether their operations are based on the web or not. Research shows that in 2013 alone, businesses lost more than $700 billion due to fraud involving credit cards. Clearly, this is not an issue that should be taken lightly.

Security Measures

Merchants can protect themselves against fraud in two broad ways, and this is by fraud detection and fraud prevention. These two measures are important irrespective of the size of the business, or the volume of sales it receives. Because credit cards are considered the “currency” of the online world, many thieves and criminal groups focus on ways to steal money from them. Specific credit card security measures that should be implemented include AVS, or Address Verification System.

Another security tool that is widely used by merchants is the credit card ID, also known as the CVC. These tools work in conjunction with payment gateways. AVS will confirm the identity of the credit card user by verifying their billing address. The CVC is a three digit number located on the back of the card, which users must enter when buying goods online. This ensures that the person making the purchase is in actual possession of the card, rather than just having the credit card number.

The CVC number can also be requested by the merchant when a customer attempts to make a payment over the phone or by fax. However, both AVS and CVC should be considered entry level tools; merchants who want maximum protection should implement more stringent measures.

Advanced Security Features

Data theft is a phenomenon where cyber criminals will break into databases, stealing the data held within. Tokenization services prevent this by giving merchants the ability to avoid collecting or holding data within their own operating systems. Only a minimal amount of data is sent back, and for merchants who operate e-commerce websites, links can be provided to secure webpages where one-time payments can be made. Merchants who wish to protect themselves further should also become familiar with PCI compliance.

A business which is PCI compliant is one that meets the standards of the PCI DSS, or Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards. These are a list of procedures which must be rigorously followed when handling credit card data, as well as storing or sending it. Following these procedures ensures that both the merchant and customers are protected.

Data breach prevention is another advanced security measure which counters cyber criminals who attempt to penetrate databases. Data breach prevention ranges from basic tools such as firewalls or anti-virus programs to real time transaction monitoring and information validation. When the right security tools are combined with best practices, a merchant gives themselves maximum protection against credit card fraud, ensuring that their businesses minimize its losses. No business which processes credit cards can afford to be without them.