As businesses prepare for the busy holiday season, it is also time to check in with credit card security measures. Best practices will thwart fraud during this important shopping season. As we noted last year, you can help protect your customers and business by monitoring your credit card transactions carefully.
Wherever customers are shopping, merchants need to be alert to possible risks and take action to reduce their exposure. Here are some important ways to protect your business this season and throughout the year.
Use EMV and Contactless-enabled Terminals Reduce Credit Card Risk
Since the conversion to EMV-enabled terminals in October 2015, increased use of this more secure equipment has helped merchants keep their transactions safe. Thanks to the security enhancements of the EMV chips, especially when transactions use EMV and PIN security, consumers and merchants reduce credit card risk and are better protected from fraud.
Contactless payment offers another highly secure method of processing transactions. Most EMV terminals are also contactless-enabled. Using radio-frequency identification (RFID) or near field communication (NFC) either via smartphone or smartcard, a fast and secure transaction is possible at contactless-enabled terminals. If a merchant chooses to use contactless payments without PIN, they may decide to limit the amount spent per contactless transaction to further reduce risk.
Train Employees to Spot Suspicious Behavior
During the holidays, the volume of sales increases and your team will be reacting to longer checkout lines, stressed-out customers, and larger tickets. This could make it harder to spot a fraudulent transaction.
Be sure to include credit card security training for your seasonal staff, too. Even seasonal workers will be on the front lines of processing transactions, so make sure they know where trouble might strike your business.
Prepare your staff and prevent credit card fraud with a review of common sense tips.
- Never accept a damaged card. Request a different payment method and never manually enter a card number.
- Confirm the customer’s identity. Don’t be afraid to request a photo ID, especially for large purchases.
- Don’t allow customers to distract your staff from doing their job. Keep the transactions focused on ringing up the sale and verifying the cardholder’s identity each and every time. Suspicious behavior from a customer could indicate a problem.
Watch for Unusual Transactions
Unusually large purchases are reason to double-check identity during the holiday season, too. Any transactions that vary from the normal traffic of your business are worth a closer look and confirmation of the customer’s identity.
A customer making several purchases from the same card in a short amount of time could be suspicious, too. A thief may try to use a stolen card as much as possible before the card is reported missing. This frantic repeat shopping could show up in a brick-and-mortar store or on an online store.
It is an unfortunate part of life that employee fraud is a major concern to retailers, too. Keep an eye on all credit card activity, especially returns. Employee theft can show up in the form of fraudulent discounting or returns. Integrity InTouchSM alerts can help you set reasonable limits for returns at your store and alert you any time something out of the ordinary happens. This service is especially helpful during the hectic holiday season.
Stay up to Date with Online Security
As consumers and merchants shift to safer EMV chip cards and contactless payments at the point of sale, risk may shift to online and card not present transactions. PCI compliance is a requirement for anyone accepting credit cards. Integrity’s Easy PCI Program will help you secure your customer data and keep your business safe.
Beyond the 12 measures required to be PCI compliant, there are a few best practices that can further protect your online business from fraud.
- Address Verification Service (AVS) is available for cards issued with addresses in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. This service will confirm that the billing information matches the street number and zip code that the card issuer has on file.
- Card Verification Value 2 (CVV2) is the three-digit number printed on Visa and MasterCards and the four-digit number printed on American Express Cards. Asking for this number at the time of transaction confirms that the user has the actual card in hand when making an order.
- Several cards from the same IP address may indicate crime. Think of a thief with a stack of stolen cards shopping from one computer. Consider limiting the number of cards that can purchase from each IP address to reduce your risk.
Integrity takes fraud seriously, and we are committed to eliminating credit card crime. We make it our mission to help educate merchants on the tools and strategies available to them to reduce the risk of counterfeit transactions. By learning a few best practices and credit card security measures you can prevent fraud at the point of sale, in-store or online, and protect your customers’ valuable financial data this holiday season and in the new year.