How to Secure Online Payment Transactions for BusinessesVanessa Venugopal
E-commerce has long been a choice of shopping method for customers around the world. However, the impact of the global pandemic has made it exceptionally high. It boosts to around 22 billion monthly visits to e-commerce shops. It focuses on online shops that serve everyday items like groceries and clothing.
This increase in online shopping means more ways of online payment between customers and businesses. But the internet is not a safe place, as the more people use the internet, the more criminals are plotting to make their next move.
Businesses should always be equipped with safety measures and tools to help protect their customers. Since most customers don’t know how to secure their transactions, they often rely on the business. Therefore, safe online payment often fall on the business owner.
Now, how are you supposed to keep your online payment transaction safe for your customers?
Tips on How to Secure Online Payment Transactions
Comply with the PCI DSS
PCI DSS or Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard ensures the safety of every payment transaction. It adds a layer of protection and establishes trust for online payment.
PCI checks any vulnerability in your business’s online transaction system. If an issue is found, you need to fix it immediately.
The PCI standards you have to meet depends on your business size. For an overview, here are the four levels of business classifications according to PCI.
- 4: < 20,000 card transactions/year
- 3: 20,000 to 1 million card transactions/year
- 2: 1 to 6 million card transactions/year
- 1: Over 6 million card transactions/ year
It’s easier if businesses choose a processing provider that hands PCI services instead of handling it by themselves. Companies that process credit card payments take care of transaction history, details of the customer, and other data storage for a business.
But take note that there are processing providers that don’t often share information with a business. It keeps businesses free from worrying about customers’ data.
Use an SSL
SSL or Secure Sockets Layer is additional protection you add to your website for online security encryption. This technology makes sure that the transaction between a browser and web server is encrypted.
Most customers nowadays look for websites that have an SSL certificate. They can tell if a website is using an SSL by looking at the URL of the website. SSL certificates on a website will have a web address that begins with HTTPS and a padlock symbol.
Give your website an SSL certificate by choosing website builders that offer one, purchase one from a third-party seller, or you can use your processing company’s payment gateway.
With SSL, you can be sure the information your customers share on your website is encrypted.
Never Store Sensitive Information
When customers purchase something on your website, they have to input their name and payment information. Sometimes this data can be stored on your system.
Storing sensitive data in your system puts your business and customers at risk. Data breaches are a common threat encountered by most organizations. Even those organizations who have practiced the best safety for their business can still fall for this threat. The best way to avoid access to such data is to never store them on the server.
Allowing your customers to save their information helps for returning customers. But make sure you give them the option to save or not save their details. If ever they want to store their data on your system, then keep it encrypted safely. However, it’s expensive, to begin with.
You can save your customers’ data offline, where it’s much safer, but still, you need to secure the hard drive.
Invest in a Trusted E-commerce Platform
There are plenty of E-commerce platforms in the market with better functionality, incredible designs, and impressive features. But when looking for one, make sure to choose an e-commerce platform that provides the best security for your online business transaction.
A reliable E-commerce platform adds a layer of security when accepting online payments. Furthermore, it can detect threats and encrypt transactions.
Only choose trusted e-commerce platforms that help you protect your customers. Some well-known e-commerce platforms are Magneto, Shopify, and BigCommerce.
Add an Address Verification Service
When purchasing online and paying using a credit card, online businesses require you to input your billing address. It’s additional work on the part of the customers. But it’s necessary for security measures.
Billing address is crucial for businesses to verify if the entered information matches the one filed with the credit card provider. Any mismatch on the address prevents the transaction from proceeding.
Using an Address Verification Service can help in functioning as authentication between the cardholder and the provider. However, take note that it is not a 100% guarantee that it can prevent any fraudulent activity.
Update Your Device’s System
Keeping your customers safe is not only about using an SSL certificate or getting the best payment processor. You also need to focus on your company’s devices and their systems.
System updating is a critical security measure. Implementing these updates can repair loopholes, vulnerabilities, and possibilities for hackers to exploit. Hackers often crawl websites that have flaws for them to target. Therefore, you need to keep your system updated.
Also, make sure to include updates on all the software your company uses. Even other outdated tools can be the reason why hackers can enter your website.
You can set up automatic updates, so you don’t have to be interrupted or go through them individually.
Verify Your Customer’s Transaction
Aside from verifying transactions using billing addresses, you can also ask customers to input their card security code. Such practice can protect your customers from fraudulent activities.
Customers need to send their CVV card number to verify their transactions.
Monitor Transaction Patterns
You can monitor transactions that are ongoing on your website. Besides verification processes, you can observe how someone orders on your websites. You can see how your returning customer behaves. When suddenly they make a large purchase, you can confirm it by contacting them to make sure about their purchase.
Tokenization is an effective security technology to handle your customers’ data. It adds an extra layer to keep the data of your customers safe.
Tokenization is different from encryption. But both security methods are ideal for online business transactions. For tokenization, it removes the data and replaces it with random numbers.
Therefore, when a hacker steals a token, it has no value at all. Hence, it improves payment security and also prevents data breaches.
Meanwhile, encryption means retaining the original information but making it inaccessible by changing it to various characters. Only those who have login information or key can have access to the encrypted data.
Educate Employees and Customers
One of the biggest reasons for data breaches is due to human negligence. The lack of employee knowledge can cause your business harm.
Employees who aren’t aware of cyber threats and their signs of them can contribute to data breaches. They can open phishing emails, log in on fake websites, or give away login credentials without knowing who they are talking to.
Your role as a business owner is to educate your employees about cybersecurity and all the practices you can implement. By educating them, they can be alert in times when suspicious activities arise. Furthermore, they can resolve issues immediately or avoid scam emails to prevent the leakage of customer data.
Educate your employees on how to use tools and technology that can protect your business.
Like your employees, your customers need to be educated. You have to inform them how they can also protect their online payment transaction. It can be done by sending emails or posting blogs about how customers can protect their data when purchasing online.
Adding 3D security to other parts of your authentication process can keep potential threats away. It works by asking a customer to send a pin code or use the biometric scan. The test given is not fixed. The kind of test provided will depend on the bank issuing the card.
3D security can ensure that the person who is using the card is the person who owns it. Hence, it prevents fraudulent activities.
Secure Devices with a Strong Antivirus Software
Keeping your business devices safe should be part of security plans. Any device used to access your website and your customers’ data should be monitored and updated. No matter how small your business is, you need to keep it secured with antivirus software applications.
There are plenty of antivirus software applications to install on your device. Some offer multiple device protection, while others even have a security feature that can detect zero-day threats.
You can choose from popular brands like Bitdefender, Avast, Kaspersky, and more.
Some small business owners have no employees and manage their business by themselves. Hence, they can use commercialized antivirus software like Bitdefender Family Pack, McAfee LiveSafe, or AVG Ultimate.
Get to know what features you need to protect devices you use in your business.
Check out Bitdefender Family Pack review vs. Total Security here.
Invest in a Cyber Liability Insurance
Sometimes, no matter how secure you are and active in keeping your devices, tools, and data safe, hackers will somehow find a way into your system. So the best way to avoid the dreadful financial impact and legal cost, you’ll need insurance coverage.
Insurance coverage can cover the loss and help in the cost of investigation, which price depends on the data and content stolen.
Add a Two-factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication or 2FA is an additional security layer that protects accounts. You need to activate 2FA on all your business accounts and encourage employees to do so.
With 2FA, you need to provide a code or biometric measure after you’ve input your login credentials. The code can be received via email or SMS
You can also give your customers the freedom to activate the 2FA for their accounts too.
Use Strong Passwords
Part of your employee education is to create and use a strong password for their business accounts.
Since passwords are the first line of defense from all attacks, keeping it complicated can keep hackers away from your account. A weak password can take only hours to decipher. Meanwhile, a complex password can take years for hackers to guess, even when using a tool.
Complex passwords have the following elements:
- More than 8 to 10 characters
- Combination of upper and lower cases
- Include symbols and numbers
- Must not include any personal information
- Shouldn’t be used in any account
- Must not be recycled from previous passwords
Keeping your online payment transaction safe is not only for your benefit. It also keeps your customers safe. Online transactions should always be kept protected at all costs and times. Businesses should follow guidelines, submit to payment policies, and use the best security tools and practices they can.
It is advisable to be ready for any attack. By keeping your security system and data secured 24/7, you can prevent hackers from gaining access to your customers’ personal details.
Remember, providing your customers with the safest way to conduct payment transactions is one of the many ways to provide customer satisfaction.