Imprinting a credit card on duplicate paper seems like 19th century technology, but merchants relied on this payment solution as recent as the 1980s. Today’s payment types are so far-ranging that hackers have recently found pathways into some of the most secure servers, from retail giants to computer innovators. Whether you’re a storefront or an independent contractor, safe credit card charging depends on merchant attention, equipment and consumer awareness.
Outfit your smartphone or tablet with swipe equipment to expedite any orders out in the field. Avoid writing up an invoice to mail to a corporate office when you can just charge them on the spot. You know the customer, their desired item or service, and can match all the information to the card. As long as you use secure software on your device, the transaction has little chance of being hacked.
Sign Right There
The beauty of mobile transactions is its similarity to a standard storefront charge. After swiping the card on your device, the customer must sign on the screen. This signature acts as a legal promise to pay for the item or service. Orders purchased over the phone or simply invoiced could be denied in court because there’s no signature. It also must match the identification and signature on the card. The merchant is protected against fraud from both the customers and possible hackers.
Smart Card Chips
Technology is slowly changing the basic use of credit cards. The magnetic strip holding all the user’s information is the key target for most thieves. Card manufacturers now offer embedded chips within their cards. This protects the consumer and merchant from hacking or fraud. Each transaction creates a new associated code, making it extremely difficult to steal through traditional hacking methods. Merchants may want to suggest these chip cards to their loyal customers in order to see them implemented more often.
Bypassing the Card
There may come a time when a credit card is no longer necessary. Computer giant Apple is looking to use their smartphones as a scanning point for financial data. A merchant scans their system with the phone, producing a transaction with a connected checking account. Although the security parameters in place are said to be strong, it’s still a smart idea to ask for identification.
Using Common Sense
Basic logic must be used by both merchants and consumers when approaching a charging situation. If a swiping machine looks unusual or worn down, avoid it and use another device. Thieves can add hardware and software to a swiper to steal information from each card that’s used. Always be aware of surroundings as well. Anyone can look over a shoulder and memorize a PIN that isn’t hidden from view. Whether you’re a consumer or merchant, helping each other with card safety protects everyone from harm.
Taking your time with each card charge is the basic stepping stone to secure payment processing. Always asking for identification and really analyzing it allows you to stop fraud before it can take hold. Your reputation and customer base will appreciate your financial diligence.