Secure Payments for Merchants: How to Safely Accept Payments in Your Business

Secure Payments for Merchants: How to Safely Accept Payments in Your Business

Accepting secure payments should be a priority for every small business. After all, 87% of small businesses are likely to be the victims of attacks that may compromise customer data. Choosing a trusted payment processing partner is, therefore, one of the most important decisions you need to make. 

For SMBs, ensuring payment security and controlling payment processing costs are especially important. SMBs typically operate with lower margins and should prioritize the implementation of secure payment processing that doesn’t break the bank. It is also necessary to choose a modern payment solution that supports various payment methods.

In this article, we’ll discuss how your small business can accept secure payments so you can protect your customers’ as well as your own data.

Let’s get started.

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1. Payment Processors Must Ensure PCI Compliance

Payment security is one of the most important aspects of payment processing. All payment processors must adhere to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) requirements. PCI compliance is the standard for security in the payments industry and protects your customer’s payment data. 

These standards are set by the PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC), which is a global forum comprised of stakeholders in the payments industry. The purpose of the PCI SSC is to drive the acceptance of data security standards and provide resources to facilitate safe payments. Whether processing in-person or online payments, PCI compliance protects against payment fraud.

All reputable payment processing service providers must therefore indicate their hardware and software are PCI compliant. Additionally, reputable card processing partners will use a secure payment system (SPS) to ensure information is encrypted and protected. 

2. Uphold Data Security for In-Person and eCommerce Transactions

Statistics show that 46% of all cyber attacks affect businesses that have fewer than a thousand employees. What’s more, in 2021, 61% of small businesses were targeted by cyberattacks.

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Given this threat, risk management best practices are imperative for SMBs to uphold. There are many cybersecurity practices your business can implement to protect customer data. Some of these measures include multi-factor authentication (MFA) and requiring strong passwords. 

Another measure businesses should take is to not store customer payment data. Instead, they should work with a processor that uses tokenization, which replaces sensitive data like credit card information with unique, randomized numbers called tokens. This helps to protect sensitive data from hackers.

Setting high security standards protects your business and customers from payment fraud and cybersecurity breaches. Whether accepting in-store or online payments, securing your payment hardware and software properly will protect you and your customers. 

Not only is this the right thing to do in general, but following cybersecurity best practices saves money. Further, the cost of a breach is often underestimated by SMBs. Research shows that most SMBs estimate the cost of a breach to be about $10,000. However, the actual cost is an average of $149,000—an amount that can be devastating for a small business.

3. Secure Payments by Verifying Customer Payment Information

Sometimes processing a transaction securely requires more information from the customer. For example, if shipping an item, check that the billing and shipping information match. While they may not always match (sending a gift, for example), fraudsters likely will not know the full billing address. 

Another way you can verify transactions is to ask for the card security code on the back of cards for card-not-present transactions. Verifying the legitimacy of a transaction ultimately leads to a better customer experience. When customers pay by credit or debit card, they trust the business with their card information. If their information is compromised and payment data is unsecured, you’ll lose their trust.

4. Secure Payments by Choosing a Trusted Payment Processor

Whether you’re starting a business or re-evaluating payment processing providers, choosing a trusted partner is a must. Your payment processor should accept major debit and credit cards like Visa and Mastercard as well as mobile and contactless payments. These payment methods are popular with consumers, and accepting several options can improve revenue. 

A recent study shows that 82% of small businesses prefer an all-in-one payment processing solution. Choosing a partner with eCommerce and in-person payment capabilities, hardware, and mobile payments will ultimately help your business get paid faster. The same study also found that nearly 60% of SMBs could save time, and 52% could manage cash flow more easily with comprehensive payment solutions. 

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A comprehensive payment solution accepts multiple payment options and is backed by a reputable financial institution. Further, functionality like invoicing capabilities and modern payment technology are must-haves for any payment processing solution.

Some payment processors offer different solutions and pricing models that may be better suited for your business. One consideration when choosing a partner is to check if their solutions are targeted at your specific industry. Another aspect to consider is if the equipment they offer is a good match for your business.

There are many payment processing providers to choose from. When evaluating payment processing solutions, use customer ratings, pricing structures, and hardware and software capabilities to guide you.

The Bottom Line

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Choosing a trusted payment processor requires research to ensure that the cost and functionality meet your needs. There are many options to consider, and for SMBs seeking a low-cost payment processor that ensures secure payments, Payment Depot is here to help. 

The payment processing industry isn’t exactly transparent—overly complex contracts, hidden fees, and costly equipment are just a few pain points. Payment Depot has no long-term contracts, hidden fees, or markups, and our award-winning customer service team is available round-the-clock to help and support you. 

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