Advice For Digital Start-Ups On Accepting Credit Card Payments

With more and more online businesses appearing on a weekly basis, it is an exciting time for the internet and its users. However, whilst it may be easier at first to start up an online business instead of just an offline business, simply because you can do it from the comfort of your bedroom, there is still a lot to consider and be wary of.

No more is this true then in the case of online credit card payments. We are very used to, as consumers, being told to take care when entering our information online because not every online company is trustworthy. However, looking at things from the other side, not every customer is trustworthy and many businesses have been subject to credit card fraud, plus the additional worry of something lurking in the depths of your online network, ready to steal your customer’s credit card details.

Therefore, if you have an Ecommerce business, you really do need to take care when handling any credit card payments. The last thing you want is to find out all your customer information has been stolen by a virus or hacker or that you need to refund the charges made on various credit cards because they have, in fact been used fraudulently.

You need to be able to assure your customers that you are a trustworthy business that they can make payments to without worry; otherwise you will never be able to grow your business. For the sake of your profit margin, you have also got to have a good, secure card payment method in place.

1. Storing credit and debit card information

Firstly, it is vital that you don’t store all the card information you have from customers at your place of work; whether this is your home, an office or simply on your laptop. Important data should only be collected when it absolutely essential to do so and stored securely at all times. It is best to store this sensitive information with a 3rd party processor who is PCI DSS compliant.

2. Ensuring all employees are aware of correct data handling methods

If you accept credit card payments, you as the employer, have a responsibility to make sure every single employee knows how to handle your customers’ credit card information properly and securely. If they don’t it could end up severely impacting your digital business. You need to make sure you have clear and no nonsense policies regarding the handling of this information and procedures in place to discipline anyone who does not follow them.

3. Make sure you use an encrypted connection

End-to-end encryption is essential for when you are transferring customer credit card information from one place to another. Be sure that you use either Transport Layer Security (TLS) or Secure Sockets Layer (SSL); either of these encryption methods will help protect the information you are transferring and storing from theft and fraud.

4. Research your payment gateway/ merchant account provider properly

It is really crucial to make sure, whichever payment gateway and/or merchant account you choose, that you have done a good amount of research into them. You have to make sure it is reliable and recommended. It is always a better idea to go for a more pricey option if it is a reputed service, over and above alternatives which might be cheaper. Don’t be lulled into choosing a worse service simply because it costs less.

5. Payment card industry (PCI) compliance

Given how common credit card fraud is these days, it is essential to make sure your business is PCI compliant. You should always make sure you are following best practice. This means making sure that whichever card payment processing software you have, it has a Payment Application Data Security Standard certification. Your business itself will also need Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard certification.

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James writes for Transax Merchant Services. When not writing, he can often be found giving advice to start-ups about a number of things.

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