According to the 2015 Verizon PCI Compliance Report, card payments in the U.S. are expected to grow to $9 trillion by 2018, representing two thirds of all purchases.
But along with this rise in card payments will come an inevitable rise in credit card fraud and the need for credit card fraud prevention techniques. Today, businesses have to worry about credit card fraud and payment security more than ever before.
The credit card fraud sector in the U.S. is booming; a 2015 Barclays research note found that 47% of the world’s credit card fraud originated in the U.S., and according to the Identity Theft Resource Center, over 177 million customer records were vulnerable in 2015 after businesses were hacked.
Such data breaches or fraud attacks can be incredibly costly. The 2015 IBM/Ponemon Cost of Data Breach Study found that every lost or stolen data record containing sensitive information costs businesses an average of $154. With every compromised record, the cost goes up for businesses.
In the midst of a constantly evolving landscape of attacks, fraud, and phishing and hacking strategies, how can you keep your customers’ data safe?
If your business accepts credit card payments, then you’ve probably heard of PCI compliance—but what does it have to do with payment security?
The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a set of rules designed to help keep customer data safe. Any business that processes, transmits, or stores credit card information must comply with these standards or face fines and penalties.
The PCI DSS encourages businesses to maintain secure networks and protect data at rest and in transit to prevent fraud.
To become PCI compliant, your business must go through a verification process involving a self-assessment questionnaire and possibly a remote scan of your network to detect any vulnerabilities or flaws. Trying to work through this process on your own can feel daunting—but many businesses offer PCI compliant data storage methods and can assist you in achieving PCI compliance.
One simple way to ensure your business is PCI compliant is to entrust your customers’ credit card information to a company that specializes in secure data storage and uses advanced techniques such as encryption, tokenization, and offsite data storage.
Encryption is a standard practice adopted by most businesses that store or accept credit cards, and its purpose is to encrypt or disguise sensitive data to keep it safe from attacks or fraud.
To encrypt sensitive information, an encryption algorithm is used to translate the data into a code, rendering it unintelligible. Only someone with a cipher, password, or key can decode (or decrypt) and access the data.
However, encryption can be broken through skill or sheer brute force, and it may not be enough to protect customer information. To confidently store sensitive data, you may need to find a solution that also utilizes tokenization.
Tokenization is a highly secure data storage method that protects against fraud, hackers, or anyone trying to access your system.
During tokenization, sensitive data, such as customer credit card information, is replaced with tokens, strings of valueless numbers and letters. These meaningless tokens are then stored on your local system and the true information is stored offsite on an offsite secure cloud server.
If anybody did manage to hack into your local system, they would only have access to tokens and wouldn’t be able to steal any useful information.
In this way, you’re able to safely and conveniently store customer credit cards on your local system without being held liable for fraud or a data breach.
The bottom line
Without a robust security system, you’re vulnerable to credit card fraud and attacks that could cost you thousands of dollars in damages and the invaluable trust and loyalty of your customers.
According to the 2015 Verizon PCI Compliance Report, 69% of customers were less inclined to do business with a company that had suffered from a data breach. Don’t leave your business open to attacks that could have lasting negative impacts, and don’t allow fraud to steal your customers from you.
Though payment security can be difficult to navigate, there are credit card fraud prevention techniques and resources available to help you create a safe and reliable system for storing customer credit card information. Focus on finding solutions for PCI compliance that include encryption and tokenization with offsite data storage. By staying smart and staying ahead of fraudsters and hackers, you’re protecting both your business and your customers from harm.
Barclay’s Security in Payments: A Look into Fraud, Fraud Prevention, and the Future. May 22, 2015.
Identity Theft Resource Center, 2015 Data Breach Category Summary. http://www.idtheftcenter.org/images/breach/ITRCBreachStatsReportSummary2015.pdf
IBM/Ponemon Cost of Data Breach Study. https://www.ibm.com/security/infographics/data-breach/, https://www-03.ibm.com/security/no-no/data-breach/