Credit Card Security

How Do I Secure My Customer’s Credit Cards?

Americans use credit cards as one of their preferred payment methods and that trend is steadily increasing. In turn, all types of businesses are informally mandated by such a norm to accept credit card payments. Accordingly, credit card information must be properly handled and secured since the consequences of mismanaged credit information can affect both the client and provider. The client’s credit information would be compromised and there’s no telling until it’s too late what such a thief intends to do with such sensitive information, such as your membership program and its sensitive information.

Listed below are important tips and strategies in securing your customer’s credit card information. 

Follow All Credit Card Regulations and Standards

There are national to international standards that govern the appropriate handling and storage of sensitive information. Small businesses to large companies follow an established set of criteria to ensure that their enterprise is eligible to receive accreditation.  However, credit card standards also apply to technological advancements that provide the most up-to-date encryption abilities.

  • PCI Compliance – PCI Compliance is a set of agreed criteria established by credit card associations that businesses should follow if they wish to accept the following credit cards; MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Discover Network, JCV, and Diner’s Club International.   Part of the PCI Compliance criteria is to make sure that the following must also adhere to PCI guidelines; security software, credit card swipers, websites, and even payment storage companies. If you think about it, the credit card information is relayed between different components and entities so it’s natural that all of which must be PCI compliant. 
  • Secure Socket Layer (SSL) – A website with an SSL certificate is part of the PCI Compliance guidelines but the importance of an SSL certificate warrants its own category. If a business website is dealing with sensitive customer information, not just credit card information but also identity information such as names, birthdays, and addresses, then it should have an SSL certificate. An SSL certificate is a security protocol that encrypts the website’s data with at least 128-bit encryption. Any intercepted data, will be rendered unreadable and useless due to the staggering length of the encrypted data that even the most powerful supercomputers running at the same time will take years to crack any 128-bit encrypted data. 
  • EMV Chip Technology – EMV is named after its developers (Europay, MasterCard, & Visa). It’s fast becoming the global standard in credit card technology. Cards, both debit, and credit, that are integrated with an EMV chip are more secure since the chip encrypts and creates a random code for every transaction history, making the credit card data almost impossible to intercept and interpret even across multiple transactions. Businesses that don’t have EMV-certified payment technology are losing out on customers who have adopted such technology and desire more security. 

 

All Storage Methods Must be Encrypted and Secured

Storage methods include both digital and paper. As for digital storage, e-commerce merchants will definitely encounter trouble since they have to store and secure a boatload of credit card information so that their customers don’t have to constantly input their credit card information every time they make an online purchase. Digital servers and cloud-based storage must always be encrypted and of course, PCI compliant. Paper storage must be secured and padlocked so that only employees with the proper credentials and security clearance have access.

Inform Your Employees Of Credit Card Handling Protocol

Call a meeting with your fellow employees and make them aware of the most current standards of credit card handling. Your employees should have a strict work ethic when it comes to customer security. For example, they should only be conducting credit card transactions with the store’s official payment terminal. Also, make sure that they won’t record any credit card information either through paper or through electronic copies. The credit card payment terminal will handle everything. All your employees need to do is to have the card swiped and collect the appropriate receipts. 

Conclusion

A business that properly handles their client’s information can raise customer loyalty and brand loyalty. Customers are more confident in dealing with a business that adheres to stringent global standards in credit card management. A business’s failure to properly secure credit card information might even lead to a loss in customer loyalty and confidence to an extent that such loss might be unrecoverable, thereby jeopardizing the business’s future to a premature demise. The importance of properly handling credit cards cannot be overstated.

free 30-min consultation banner