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payment security tips

5 Things You Can Do to Increase Card Data Security in 2016

Ray Moorman

As of October 1, 2015, merchants not using EMV technology to process chip cards may be liable for certain fraud-related chargebacks that could have been prevented by EMV. Like it or not, EMV is here to stay, and business owners need to make the necessary adjustments to ensure they process credit cards safely. EMV is just one step merchants can take toward better payment security, but it's an important one. Payment card fraud cost the U.S. $7.9 billion in 2015, a near 60 percent increase from 2010.(1)

Here are a few things you need to know to help increase your card data security in the coming year:

Upgrade to EMV-enabled equipment
The first step is to upgrade to payment processing equipment. While the EMV chargeback liability shift occurred last October, it will likely take several more years before the transition is complete. That means there are many merchants that have yet to upgrade their technology. Upgrading to EMV-enabled equipment helps ensure merchants don't face the negative fallout of certain fraud-related chargebacks that could have been prevented by EMV.

While implementing EMV chip card technology, merchants should consider upgrading to a system that enables contactless payments as well. Some experts say the experience of dipping cards rather than swiping them will lead more consumers to adopt mobile wallets and contactless payments, which are often quicker. As the holiday season commences, shoppers will appreciate being able to move through the line faster. Speed isn't the only benefit, however. Contactless payments also provide enhanced security for businesses and consumers. In addition to all the benefits of EMV, customers using mobile wallets or contactless payments don't have to hand over their credit card to the business. This also makes it more difficult for customers to lose their cards. Mobile wallet payments also provide additional security layers for use, such as a pin or thumbprint.

Keep an eye on e- and m-commerce
Once it becomes difficult to hack into payment card information at the point of sale, fraudsters are likely to focus their efforts online instead. The amount of fraud that takes place on digital channels continues to increase year-over-year as brick-and-mortar merchants increase security. In 2014, digital channels produced 42 percent of fraud in the U.S. That number increased to 55 percent in 2015, and the trend is likely to continue.

Many business owners operate a storefront in addition to an e-commerce store. These merchants will need to be careful to put additional measures in place in online stores to avoid fraud. One way to do this is to implement screening processes that automatically alert merchants when online buyers behave suspiciously, such as placing extremely large orders or using different cards to make multiple purchases. Whether your business processes cards in store or online, it's crucial to make payment security a priority.

Check up on PCI DSS
As you prepare your systems for the coming year, it's also important to look into the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. If you aren't sure whether you are compliant with PCI DSS, it's important to find out now. Noncompliance can result in significant fines, not to mention potential security breaches. The first step is to make sure you are using a compliant point-of-sale solution.

Keep software and systems updated
One of the best ways to prevent vulnerabilities in your payment security is to keep all platforms up to date. Download software patches when they become available. Also be sure to implement anti-virus software and update it regularly to prevent unwanted access to your systems. In addition, older models of POS systems may have weak points that newer designs have improved. Another smart way to be secure in 2016 is to invest in new technology. If you need to implement EMV-enabled equipment anyway, why not update everything all at once?

Educate staff
Another crucial way to increase payment security is to make sure your employees have a basic knowledge of digital safety. First, make sure staff understand the impact of their actions. Do employees understand the potential business impact of a security breach? Knowing how their actions contribute to the bottom line will help staff stay engaged in security best practices.(2) Once your team understands what they need to do to maintain security, conduct regular audits to make sure everyone is staying up to speed.

Creating a secure credit card processing environment is an ongoing process. While businesses implement better security practices to prevent fraud, thieves evolve to get around these new strategies. Business owners need to consistently review security standards and update equipment to stay ahead of the curve. Preventing fraud is a necessity for preserving consumer trust, which means a business' work to improve security is never truly done.

  1. http://www.businessinsider.com/the-us-emv-migration-report-what-new-chip-cards-mean-for-consumers-issuers-and-merchants-2015-11
  2. http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/5915-why-all-employees-need-it-security-education.html

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