Payment processing

Understanding the Importance of Secure Credit Card Processing

You know that security is an important aspect of any credit card transaction, and you expect your merchant services provider to give you the best in security. But why is there so much emphasis on secure credit card processing? It may seem secure to you, especially if you have a good provider. The following facts shed light on why you need to get the best security possible.

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Credit Card Processing Is Not Secure

The first thing to understand is that credit card processing is not exactly a secure process. Information can be stolen, and often is, from almost anywhere you do business. Most people know that online transactions are the least secure form of credit card processing. Even when data is encrypted, online shoppers are at risk of having their credit card information stolen. When information is stored on a company’s servers, it can also be stolen if the server is breached.

Mobile transactions are also risky, especially if the app you are using does not have sufficient security. Even POS terminals are not entirely safe: Information must be transmitted across lines, where it can be intercepted and recorded, and terminals themselves can store records and log PINs.

Customers Value Security

Most customers are aware of the need for security, especially if they shop online. Customers, however, must rely on your business to offer them secure payments every time they shop with you. And with credit card fraud and identity theft costing US consumers $16 billion in 2016 alone, consumers are becoming more wary and scrutinizing. If your company doesn’t seem to offer them the highest possible level of security, they are less likely to shop with you.

Of course, you want to keep your customers safe and protect their data. That is another reason that secure credit card processing must be so important to your business, no matter where your customers meet you.

Data Breaches Cost You Too

In June 2016, IBM reported that the average consolidated cost of a data breach is now $4 million. That means that using unsecure payment processing is costing your business too. A data breach could mean you lose customers, as your customers no longer trust you to handle their payments securely; that can translate into lost sales. Further, you may need to remedy the problem, upgrade your own security or even switch payment processing providers, all of which represents additional costs for your business. Even if the data breach did not happen on your own company servers or by any fault of yours, you will still end up paying for the provider’s lack of security.

Being More Secure

One of the things your company can do to be more secure is to develop specific “best practices” about how to handle any sensitive customer information, including their payment information. This can include policies about how and where you store this information. Some firms do not keep credit card information on file, in order to better protect their customers—although this has some serious drawbacks, especially for online shoppers who do not want to enter their card information each time they shop with you. Another policy might be not to share customer data through certain platforms or to ensure the data is encrypted when and if it is shared between departments.

Perhaps the best step you can take, however, is ensuring that you have secure credit card processing straight from your provider. Always check that your provider is PCI-compliant. Ask about what security measures they incorporate into their processes and procedures. You should also find out about their policies in the event of a breach—how will they protect you and your customers? Getting more secure credit card processing now rather than later is never a bad idea.


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Lisa Gibson

Lisa is the Credit Manager of BNA Smart Payment Systems and has over 18 years of experience in diverse roles of credit and credit risk management. She graduated from the financial program at Boreal College and is an expert in personal loans and line of credit, mortgage underwriting, private label commercial credit cards, small business loans, and merchant account underwriting. Lisa is also an avid railfan and HO scale train modeler, and enjoys curling.

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