Credit Card Safety Tips for Small Businesses

Consumers trust you to safely store and process their credit card details.

credit card safety tips

While data breaches are, unfortunately, still a reality, there are steps you can do to better protect the privacy of your customers’ data.

Below are six credit card safety tips your business can take to protect your customers’ sensitive data.

1. Only Authorized Hardware and Software Should Be Used.

Before accepting credit cards, ensure your hardware and software are PCI-compliant, whether you utilize a POS terminal or a swiper connected to a device running payment processing software!

Not all commercially available gear is safe for human consumption. There are a lot of subpar programs and card readers out there due to security flaws and vulnerabilities.

2. Make Sure You’re Only Working with Verified Professionals.

One alternative to managing credit card processing and customer accounts in-house is hiring a service provider.

Software as a service (SaaS) provider, interactive voice response (IVR) phone services, and payment processing outsourcing firms are all examples of service providers.

3. Keep Your Payment Card Information Safe and Secure.

It can be a time-consuming process to process credit card transactions. To save time, businesses sometimes record their clients’ payment information on paper or computer spreadsheets.

If you keep clients’ credit card information on your computer, you and they are both in danger of identity theft. Credit card information and other personal details could be stolen if your system is hacked.

If a customer reports an issue with their credit card company, the Payment Card Industry may launch an investigation. Since keeping credit card information internally is against PCI guidelines, your company could face a punishment of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

4. Credit Card Numbers Recorded Over the Phone Should Be Encrypted.

Taking orders over the phone is common practice for many businesses!

Many operations records the calls to check on the service quality and document customer approval of charges. To do so exposes a database of credit card (and often security) numbers to the risk of theft. If you must keep them digitally, you should encrypt them immediately and put them in a secure, password-protected location.

Verify that no text-to-speech conversion software is installed on the storage system. Credit card information would then be accessible to anyone with access to the system.

5. Credit Card Information, Whether Stored Digitally or On Paper, Must Be Encrypted For Safety.

Credit card information can be kept as evidence of authorized payments made via mail or automatic payments made online, for example. Credit card numbers written down on paper should be stored in a secure location (a safe) when not in use.

Credit card information is commonly stored electronically if, for instance, you perform repeat transactions. It precludes the option of storing files without encryption. Make sure a robust encryption algorithm is used to secure any electronic storage. If there is ever theft or break-in, this will help prevent further damage.

Many different service providers offer secure storage, either separately or as part of bundled solutions that include payment processing. You will often receive a “token” in place of your card number from these businesses. Put the token in an unprotected file. You submit the token to the service provider when you’re ready to process a payment, and the provider gets the full card number for executing the payment.

6. Implement Anti-Fraud Software

While accepting credit card payments can enhance cash flow, sales, and credibility, it also opens the door to several problems.

In the case of credit card purchases made online, for instance, fraud is more likely to occur since retailers must have faith that the cardholder is making the purchase. Installing fraud prevention modules can reduce the likelihood of your credit card information being stolen.

Merchants can customize their fraud protection by deciding which modules to include in the fraud prevention stack. Modules such as duplicate transaction blocking, nation blocking, IP address blocking, and many more are available for retailers. Merchants can tailor their stack to specific security requirements by adding or swapping modules.

Merchants can use several fraud settings for various keys and sources with the help of fraud prevention modules. A retailer may like a higher level of security for its online shopping cart, whereas, for its POS console, it may prefer a lower level of protection for its staff.