There’s no doubt online customers are concerned about the security of their information. So, while you certainly want to reassure your customers that their payment details are safe, not all methods will work for everyone. Your customers should be able to trust you with their payment information, so it’s important to protect them from people who might misuse that data. Here are the steps you should take to keep your customers payment information safe at any given moment.
Your customers don’t want to worry about their payment information being intercepted and misused on your website. To ensure all of the data they’re sending is going directly to you, use a digital certificate that uses SSL encryption for credit card numbers and other sensitive data. This type of protection can let you know if a cybercriminal has attempted to intercept the private key or find a way into your online servers. Additionally, with this type of protection in place, you can tell customers their personal financial information is encrypted before it goes over the internet using an SSL record containing 128-bit symmetric keys.
The Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI-SCC) is an organization that operates the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard. Part of complying with this standard is taking steps to protect cardholder data, which includes displaying their seal on your website. Of course, you’ll want to verify PCI compliance yourself before adding the official security seal to your site. You can also use it as a way for customers to see that you’re using a protocol that complies with the most current payment security standards available today. The seal even comes with a QR code, so customers can scan it and see the website’s security credentials.
Customers are more likely to protect their payment information when you let them know how important that data is to them, as well as to other people who might intercept it. So, regularly communicate with your customers by providing helpful tips on protecting their sensitive data. These should include everything from proper password creation (keeping track of all the passwords they use for multiple accounts), using different secure passwords for each site or service, regularly changing those passwords, not sharing personal financial details over unsecured forms of communication like email and text messaging, avoiding clicking on links included in emails, etc.
Don’t store credit card numbers unless necessary
If you’re not processing credit card numbers for purchases, don’t store them in your systems. Instead, use a tokenization system to turn sensitive data into another form that can’t be decoded and is useless if it falls into the wrong hands. Of course, you’ll still want to store other information related to the transaction — such as name and mailing address — because these details are important for sending receipts and facilitating returns. And, if possible, get rid of this payment information within 24-48 hours after completing a purchase. This way, you can reduce the risk of that data being stolen or misused.
When your customers provide sensitive data like credit card numbers over email, you never know where it might end up — especially if that email address is publicly available on social media or other network services. Some cybercriminals might even attempt to purchase with a stolen credit card number, but cancel the order before receiving the product. This gives them a chance to test whether or not a particular stolen credit card number is valid without actually receiving anything from you. To prevent this from happening, limit permissions to those employees who need access to sensitive data for their job functions.
Customers should create unique passwords for each of their accounts and services. However, they shouldn’t make those passwords too complex because cyber criminals might be able to crack them. But these passwords should also be strong enough to block unauthorized users from accessing their accounts — such as by using a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters. When customers create strong passwords, you should also encourage them to save them in a secure location, so they don’t forget it or lose access to that information if something happens to one of their devices. Also, don’t store or ask for passwords in your customer service or support functions.
When you give customers who create credit cards two payment options — such as entering their details manually and selecting them from an online list — encourage them to choose the second option and select a card credential that includes a PIN. That way, if their cards are lost or stolen, and someone attempts to use that information without having the actual physical card in hand, they’ll still need the PIN. Customers can include this same PIN when completing transactions online to add another layer of security while preventing automatic payments from occurring.
With the right tips and security measures, you can create a secure checkout system that’s safe from hackers and helps keep customers confident in their purchases. By following these guidelines, and providing this kind of information to them as early as possible, your customers will be more likely to embrace your company as a leader in secure payment technologies.
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