Accepting credit cards is practically essential, whether you run a local or online business. The majority of people are paying with credit or debit cards for their purchases. It is convenient, but it also poses a number of risks. There are some ways to help protect your customer’s credit cards and personal information, including the following five tips.
1) Firewall and Encryption Settings
When using a wireless router for wireless networks, turn on the firewall and encryption settings. There are more than one type of encryption, and the WPA2 encryption tends to be the most effective. You will also be using a network password for the wireless network, which should be well thought out and difficult to hack into it. As a good rule of thumb, a password that is hard for you to remember is probably hard for hackers to get into or guess. Combine uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols, and be sure to change it often.
2) Provide a Secure Connection
Aside from firewalls and encryptions, there are other ways to secure your connection. When you accept credit cards for an online business, you want to provide a foolproof secure connection on the purchase pages. The best secure connections are the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS). If your purchase page has a padlock next to the “Http,” it signifies a secure connection for the customer’s credit card information.
3) Use Secure Equipment and Software
When choosing the software and equipment for taking credit card payments, whether it’s a swipe terminal or Point of Sale, be sure they are secure. The best way to see if it’s secure, is choosing hardware that is PCI Compliant. PCI stands for the Payment Card Industry, and provides guidelines for making software and hardware that is safe, secure, free from vulnerabilities and high quality. This ensures it will continue working properly, and keep your customer’s financial information safe. The vendor should be reputable, and the hardware and software should be PCI Compliant.
4) Never Print Credit Card Numbers
When printing a receipt, invoice or billing statement, refrain from putting the entire credit card number. Many customers have more than one credit card, therefore it’s helpful to have a partial credit card number. In most cases, it will only be the last 4 digits of the number. This makes it impossible for someone to find their statements or receipts in the trash, and steal the credit card number. If you throw away anything with credit card numbers in full, shred them before putting in the recycle bin.
5) Secure Paperwork and Electronic Files
There are two main ways you will store customer’s credit card and financial information; on papers and on your computer. The electronic files and folders should be encrypted so that nobody but you can access them. Paperwork should always be in locked cabinets that only you have the key to. This keeps them safe from break-ins or dishonest employees.
Your customer is trusting you with their credit card information, therefore it is your responsibility to keep it safe at all times. Take proper measures to encrypt and secure all files, whether digital or printed, and be sure to be protected with cyber liability insurance.