3 Ways to Ensure Safe Transactions for Your Customers Online

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Making transactions over the Internet is a convenient, efficient way for consumers to purchase goods and services. As a business owner, having an online marketplace will enable you to reach customers you otherwise couldn’t and maximize your revenue. Although shopping online has become widespread over the last few years, there are still risks online. Consumers reported over 2.1 million cases of fraud last year alone. Online shopping was the second most common category of fraud, which surged during the bulk of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to take steps to help protect your customers’ personal and financial information. But how does a small business owner ensure their customers can make safe transactions with them online? Read on to learn three ways to make the online experience more secure for your customers.

1. Follow PCI Compliance

To sell products or services online, you must meet the data security standards outlined by the Payment Card Industry (PCI). Formed in 2006, the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council regulates payment brands and works to help merchants keep the financial data of their customers safe. There are twelve requirements that make up the PCI Data Security Standards.

At the very minimum, your business should follow these requirements to keep you and your customers’ transactions secure. The PCI Council also educates merchants about online safety and guides them to maximize website security.  

Factors like the size of your business can affect which requirements you’re responsible for upholding. For example, you’re likely using an eCommerce platform for your online shop. Make sure you are shopping for an eCommerce platform that you verify the software is trustworthy and reputable. Your potential partner should display that they follow PCI DSS compliance standards and participate in measures like routine security tests.

If you have employees who handle any type of credit card, eCheck, debit card, or any other method of payment, be sure to train them on how to securely handle that information.

2. Use Tools to Verify the Transaction

As a merchant, your payment processor will equip you with tools to help verify that your transactions are legitimate. Make sure you are leveraging these features to minimize fraud. Here are some verification tools to consider using:

Address Verification Service

The Address Verification Service (AVS) is a security tool that verifies the billing address the cardholder provides matches the one associated with the card. AVS is actually part of the transaction! When the cardholder uses their debit or credit card, the merchant requests the address verification as part of the authorization process. The credit or debit card processor will send a response code to the merchant, telling them whether or not to accept the transaction.

Using AVS can be an effective way to help prevent eCommerce fraud. However, it’s not a guarantee. In some cases, the address may not match because of outdated information or a misspelling in the entry.

CVV/Security Code

Combining AVS with other verification measures will greatly increase the safety of your online transactions. Every debit and credit card has a three or four digit security code on the card, typically on the back. Require your customers to enter this security code when making purchases via your payment gateway settings.

Electronic Payments

Lastly, enable electronic check payment processing for an easy and highly secure way to have customers pay. While credit card payments are customary, consider the value of eChecks and what they can mean for your business. This type of processing is great for recurring payments and high volume transactions. If you’re already processing payments you can ask your merchant services provider to enable them for you.

3. Don’t Store your Customer’s Payment Information

When a customer makes a purchase on your website, they will need to provide their personal and financial information. Customers will enter their name, credit card number, and address to complete the transaction.

However, once the transaction is complete, you shouldn’t need that information anymore. Storing billing information on your online server can put you and your customers at risk if you are hacked. To prevent this, it’s important to have a process in place to remove this information once the transaction is complete. If you need to store your customer’s payment information, look at offline storage options instead. Or use a reputable third-party transaction partner that can take on the responsibility of storing sensitive information on your behalf.

In this day and age, your data security should be a top priority, for the sake of your business and your customers. Don’t skimp when it comes to security, or you could find yourself in a sticky situation down the road. Do your research and take the steps necessary to keep your and your customers’ information safe.

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.