Online payments can be a complicated business. There’s a lot to think about—from how money moves from customers to businesses, to how banks facilitate those payments.
Many payment services and apps allow people to send money to their friends or pay for a service. However, some of them do not provide a way for the recipient to put a stop to a transaction or retrieve it.
1. Choose a reputed and trusted merchant
Choosing the right merchant services provider is a crucial step for any small business owner looking to start accepting credit card payments online. There are a variety of providers to choose from, including independent service providers and banks. Then there are third-party payment processors, which are also known as aggregators, which combine multiple businesses under one merchant identification number and provide turnkey solutions that include hardware, software, reporting and team management tools.
When shopping for a merchant services provider, look for an affordable rate and a transparent breakdown of fees. Then, make sure that it’s capable of supporting the type of transactions you need for your business. For example, if you’ll be taking recurring payments, ensure that the merchant services provider you choose supports ACH processing. Also, find out if they offer an offline transaction feature, which allows you to process customer payments without an internet connection. In the event of an outage, this will help you avoid losing sales.
2. Check the website’s security
Online payment is a convenient way to pay for goods and services, but it is important to know how to check whether a website is secure before making a transaction. This is because many scammers create fake websites to trick unsuspecting Internet users into revealing their personal information. One way to verify a website’s security is by looking at the uniform resource locator (URL): a secure URL will begin with “https” instead of “http.”
It is also important to use strong passwords for your online accounts, and not share them with others. In addition, avoid using public wi-fi to access websites that require you to enter sensitive information, as these networks can be compromised by hackers. Finally, never click on links sent in email messages, as they could be malicious. This could lead to malware infections, identity theft, or financial fraud.
3. Keep your personal details safe
It’s hard to go a few days without reading about another major cybersecurity breach exposing millions of customers’ personal information. While reputable financial institutions have plenty of security measures in place, it’s still important to take some extra steps to ensure that hackers can’t get your data.
This means that passwords for your online card and banking profiles should be extremely strong, never shared with anyone, and changed regularly. Generally, it is best to choose combinations of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols (if available) to create a stronger password.
Also, it is a good idea to keep your budgeting and money management apps separate from your online purchase accounts. This way, if the latter is hacked, your main bank account won’t be directly affected. In addition, a digital wallet like Apple Pay or PayPal can offer additional protection by not sharing your actual credit card number with the merchant – instead, it serves up a one-time virtual account number that’s unique to each transaction.
4. Use a secure payment gateway
Whether you run a website or a loyalty program, it is important to have a secure payment gateway. A secure payment gateway encrypts customers’ personal details and keeps them safe from fraudsters. It also helps ensure that transactions are completed quickly and efficiently.
The Secure Electronic Transaction (SET) protocol encrypts the credit card number and other sensitive information, which is visible only to the user’s bank. This method prevents fraudsters from accessing this information and enables the merchant to verify a customer’s identity.
Another important feature of a secure payment gateway is the address verification service, which checks the user’s address to validate the identity of the person making the purchase. This is usually done by comparing the address entered by the person with the verified address of the cardholder. If the address does not match, the transaction is usually rejected or requires manual approval by the bank. A secure payment gateway should also include a built-in fraud detection system, which is used to identify and monitor suspicious transactions.