With the major transition from physical stores and buildings to Internet-based businesses, more and more clients are eager to buy products and services online. Irrespective of the size of your business, offering your customers the possibility to securely pay online is the number one way to immediately boost your sales.
While the perks of accepting client payments online are obvious, the potential risks associated with online transactions (and the prospect of being labeled a high-risk merchant account) can still prevent business owners from introducing this wonderfully convenient option.
As a small business owner, you realize that in case some sort of hacking occurs within your online payment system, you’re going to be fully responsible for that. If you fail to solve the problem fast, this could lead to a ruined reputation, penalties, and other serious trouble. Major players with huge revenues can occasionally afford such calamities. However, to a small company owner, the consequences of an online payment fraud may result in a loss of business.
In this post, you will find some helpful tips for small business owners on how to accept payments online in a safer way.
1. Learn All There Is to Know About Risk
A smart way to enhance your online payment security is to do your homework and read a lot on the topic. That way, you will enlighten your staff and encourage them to avoid human error — something that often stands in the way of effective protection from hackers and various types of fraud. In other words, knowledge really is power when it comes to reducing the risk of online payments for your business.
Furthermore, over time, you will start recognizing patterns of fraud. Chances are your third-party payment processor has sorted out this security issue for you, but from time to time, a fraudulent order inquiry may slip through the cracks. This will help you recognize patterns, so make sure you make a list of those patterns and share it with your staff for maximum awareness and protection.
2. Do Not Store Payment Information
No matter what you do, avoid storing client payment details. First, it’s not a good thing legal-wise. Second, your customers’ payment information (which belongs to them, by the way) can be stolen. This aspect, in its turn, puts your entire business at risk.
To cut a long story short, if you want to avoid the risk, just don’t keep your customer payment data in your system.
3. Partner With a Secure Payment Processor
Start working with a reliable e-commerce platform to enhance your online payment processing and make the most of this mutually beneficial partnership. You’re probably aware that there’s a multitude of payment processors out there, so make sure you conduct exhaustive in-depth research prior to choosing the most reputable company.
4. Follow PCI DSS Religiously
Following the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards is among the most crucial ways to protect your small business. Yes, these standards are complex and challenging to adhere to, but that’s what you should strive for if you want to succeed in shifting to online business and boosting your profit. Think about hiring a consultant who will help you with a yearly data security assessment and i.e. make sure you comply with all the strict regulations.
5. Use Data Encryption Tools for Keeping Sensitive Data Private
This security technology is something your online business really needs, for it aids you in strengthening your online payment system. By making use of a trustworthy data encryption system, you get to confirm that your online platform is legitimate and reduce the risk of losing your sensitive data to leakages, cyberstalkers, or — God forbid — criminals. Consider it another level of protection in today’s online environment, where online payment systems get hacked way too often.
6. Use Various Methods to Verify All Payments
Always make note of anything unusual with orders from your regular clients e.g. requests that seem too large or different shipping addresses. This is when you will want to get in touch with the customer by phone and make sure that it’s really them making this non-typical request. Also, be careful with order inquiries that come with odd email addresses, international inquiries, and anything that seems strange transaction-wise.
Make sure you always ask your customers to indicate their credit card security code when making a payment. This code consists of 3 or 4 digits and can be found on the back of the card.
7. Keep All Your Software Updated
You probably know that outdated software is more prone to hacking attacks. Whether it’s your WordPress or antivirus program, always make sure you update them on a regular basis. Most of the time, these updates take place automatically. However, sometimes you’re going to need to take matters into your own hands and ensure that you’re running the most recent version of your business-related software manually.
8. Educate Your Customers on Data Protection
While a good website is often enough when it comes to your customer data protection, educating your clients on the topic of online payment security is vital, too. By making the most of a solid VPN, other security tools, and the latest browser versions, your clients can greatly contribute to protecting their sensitive data.
So, make sure you share this information with them on your website or via your monthly newsletter.
Bottom Line: Safe Online Payments Bring More Profit
When making a purchase via your website, your clients want to be absolutely sure that they can trust you to protect their sensitive payment data. Because if they’re not, they won’t even start supporting your business.
Remember that even a minor security incident can significantly damage your reputation. Therefore, make your customers’ data protection your utmost priority. This is sure to enhance your success and boost your revenue.
For small business owners, following the tips above may sound way too challenging, but it’s actually easier than you may think.
So, what are your thoughts on the topic? What’s your best way to protect your customers’ payment data (and your brand), while making your online transactions as secure as possible? Share your two cents with your fellow readers in the comment box below, as your opinion is very important here.