E-Commerce has taken over the world — if not literally, pretty damn close to it. The estimated value of e-commerce sales around the globe will near $3.5 trillion dollars by the end of 2019. Those figures account for more than 13 percent of total retail sales. Yet as this method of purchase has matured, serious security concerns still exist. Where EMV chip cards are the standard for in-store purchases, e-commerce transactions still frequently rely on hand keyed information.
So how can online businesses protect themselves from fraudulent activities? Today, we will review the unique challenges of accepting e-commerce payments and how businesses can use cutting edge security protocols to prevent fraud and other security concerns.
Common Security Concerns for Online Businesses
Traditional brick and mortar retailers have a long history of dealing with loss prevention and other security concerns. As more and more businesses turn to e-commerce as a primary or supplementary form of revenue, these old-school methodologies no longer cut it. Here are some of the unique security concerns facing e-commerce businesses:
Data security: modern laws like the General Data Protection Regulation have put the onus on businesses to protect their customer’s data or face serious legal consequences. While the GDPR is a law governing the European Union, it is generally considered the global standard for data security.
Authentication and data integrity: at its core, all e-commerce transactions are data exchanges over the internet. This means that receiving and transmitting data accurately is at the forefront of every single transaction. Data integrity (accuracy) and authentication (verifying that both parties are representing themselves accurately) are both pillars of e-commerce security
Phishing, man-in-the-middle, and other online security attacks: last but certainly not least, malicious hackers and/or fraudsters may attempt to breach security in a calculated attack. This has less to do with payment processing specifically and more to do with overall e-commerce security. Still, protection from these types of attacks should be part of any online business’ security protocols.
E-Commerce Payment Processing 101
As we discussed in the introduction, e-commerce transactions are fundamentally similar, yet quite different from card-present credit card transactions. The fundamental difference is the method by which credit card information is transmitted for authorization. EMV chip cards are able to be read, encrypted, and authorized in a secure manner. E-commerce transactions are somewhat more complicated.
E-commerce transactions generally flow through a payment gateway. These gateways operate in one of three ways:
Payment gateway redirects take the customer to a third-party site like PayPal. This third party processor will handle the transaction from credit card data collection through to settlement. The e-commerce business must have a standing relationship with the third party service.
On-site checkout with back end support is a common method for small to medium-sized businesses to allow customers to check out on their site with the help of a third party credit card processor.
On-site checkouts with native support is a method generally reserved for larger companies with the bandwidth to accept credit card and/or debit card payments with their own internal processing systems.
How Merchants Can Prevent E-Commerce Fraud
So how exactly can online businesses prevent fraud and/or data breaches? Here are some high-level tips to keep your business on the straight and narrow:
Always remain PCI compliant. The Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council, most often referred to simply as “PCI”, has laid out guidelines for credit card processing best practices. Adhering to PCI standards not only puts your business in the good graces of an industry giant, but it also gives you the best chance of avoiding fraudulent activities in the first place.
Always collect ample credit card information. All credit card transactions should require the credit card number, the expiration date, and the CVV code at a bare minimum. Failure to do so greatly increases the chance of credit card fraud.
Work with a high-quality merchant services provider. The fact of the matter is that you cannot dedicate all your time and energy to e-commerce fraud prevention. Instead, make sure that your merchant services provider offers quality security features to help protect your livelihood.
Choose the latest payment processing software. Technology matters when it comes to fraud prevention. Those who would potentially defraud your business will be using the latest software. Do not put your business at risk by failing to adapt.
True Merchant Offers Payment Processing Security for Small Businesses
Whether you are a brick and mortar retail operation or an exclusive e-commerce shop, True Merchant has your payment processing security needs covered! We are proud to offer a full suite of merchant services for businesses of all sizes including CardSecure for transaction security, ERP solutions, and payment processing of virtually all kinds.
With True Merchant, your small business will get the cutting edge technological backing it needs with the touch of a dedicated customer service team. Unlike larger companies, we take the time to work with our clients and deliver the services they need most.
To learn more about how we can help your small business grow, please call or email a member of our qualified merchant services team today!