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Want to Expand Your Online Sales? Check Out the Top 3 Security Measures You Need to Take

Ray Moorman

In our hyper-connected world, online sales are a must for businesses that want to expand operations. As ecommerce continues to grow each year, companies can benefit from establishing a strong online presence. However, creating a digital store brings with it new security issues merchants need to be aware of.

Security is a crucial concern for businesses that operate online. Customers are increasingly wary of fraud, and they will quickly cease interactions with a brand that has suffered a breach. A recent study found 60 percent of consumers believe merchant websites aren't doing enough to protect sensitive information, and 60 percent of consumers worry about retail security overall. (1) Moreover, with the introduction of EMV cards in brick-and-mortar stores, businesses are likely to see a growing amount of fraud in online stores. The wide rollout of EMV across Europe corresponded with an increase in card-not-present fraud. Within the first three years, CNP fraud increased almost 80 percent. (2) To prevent similar activity from occurring in the U.S., retailers need to be especially vigilant about ecommerce and keep security top of mind.

Here are the top three security measures you need to think about when you are setting up an ecommerce solution for your business:

1. Find the right partner to process cards online
The first step in being able to process credit cards online is to work with the right partner. It's important to go with a payment processing partner that prioritizes security and is well versed in PCI Data Security Standards which apply to any merchant that accepts credit card payments. Every stakeholder involved in a payment card transaction, from the merchant to the POS reseller to the processing bank, must be in compliance with PCI security standards. Working with a trusted, knowledgeable partner can go a long way in helping keep sensitive card data safe and secure.  

A good partner can offer support and advice on PCI compliance through training programs, customer support, vulnerability scans and more. Some payment processors even provide financial assistance in the event of a breach. Maintaining security is hard work, so it pays to have a partner that can help businesses take care of certain aspects. Even so, merchants will inevitably need to shoulder some of the burden themselves.

2. Use an address verification system (AVS)
Fraud is easier to accomplish online. In a card-not-present environment, it can be difficult for merchants to ascertain whether the person making a purchase is really the cardholder. To prevent fraudulent transactions, ecommerce businesses are advised to use an AVS. An AVS automatically determines whether the billing address is correct by checking it against the cardholder's data. Often, a person using a stolen card or card number will not have access to the correct billing address. When they attempt to make a purchase, the system will raise a red flag for merchants. (4) Simply having an incorrect billing address doesn't mean the customer isn't the actual card owner, so businesses may wish to utilize additional measures to look into the identity of the shopper.

AVS systems are typically used along with CVV2 verification, which refers to the 3-digit number on the back of the credit card. Once again, thieves are less likely to have this information if the credit card information is stolen. Requiring CVV2 provides one more layer of security to ensure there is a legitimate customer attempting to make a purchase.

3. Be on alert for suspicious activity
Keeping an eye on shoppers' behavior is another layer of security merchants can implement to protect themselves and customers using their online stores. There are a few suspicious activities merchants should look out for. For example, businesses should be wary when several orders originate from one IP address, but a different credit card is used each time. This could indicate a fraudster with a number of stolen cards.

Unusually large orders, especially when the customer chooses next-day shipping, may also cause for concern. Big purchases can be a sign the buyer wants to move quickly before the credit card theft is discovered. Companies can also give each purchase an in-depth look for other signs of fraud. For instance, an email address that is just a string of numbers and letters could indicate a fraudster at work.

It's also a good idea to invest in security technology that will alert merchants to activity that could mean someone is attempting to make a fraudulent purchase. Some platforms do this automatically.

Maintaining online payment security is an ongoing process, and the three tips mentioned above aren't the only things you need to do to protect online transactions. A strong and knowledgeable credit card processing partner can help merchants make sure they are taking all the necessary steps to protect their customers and their business.

  1. https://www.internetretailer.com/2015/02/03/online-shoppers-hesitate-buy-because-security-concerns
  2. http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/online-fraud-surge-emv-1273.php
  3. https://www.woothemes.com/2015/07/payment-gateway-guide/
  4. http://www.businessknowhow.com/money/ecombest.htm

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