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If you believe hackers and scammers don’t target small businesses, think again. According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), fraud affects close to one-third of all small businesses. While there are many different types of small business fraud, cybercrimes like credit card abuse are the most common form. Adopting non-secure small business payment options can have devastating consequences on your budding enterprise, which can include:
- Financial losses — Due to their meager resources, small businesses are disproportionately affected by fraud and, therefore, have a much more difficult time bouncing back from attacks. Using non-secure payment solutions for small businesses can lead to considerable financial loss. Direct expenses for just one data breach can total a whopping $38,000 on average.
- Reputational damage — Lax online payment security can lead to data breaches, which can cause irreparable damage to a brand’s image and reputation. When you lose credibility, customers will think twice before doing business with you, leading to reduced sales and profits. There will be other spillover effects besides losing customers. Your business will struggle to attract quality employees and you will find it difficult to secure financing from suppliers and investors.
- Other costs — Along with financial loss and reputational damage, offering non-secure small business payment options also leads to an increase in indirect costs. Small organizations experience an uptick in indirect costs to the tune of $8,000 as a result of fraud. This may take the form of higher insurance premiums, for example.
Best Practices for Minimizing Payment Fraud
Now that you have a clear understanding of the consequences of using non-secure payment solutions for small businesses, you should work to implement policies for reducing the risk of payment fraud. Below, Seamless Chex will provide five payment security tips to help reduce the risk of fraud and protect your business from financial and reputational damage.
If your business accepts debit and credit cards online, then you must follow the guidelines laid out by the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards, or PCI DSS. PCI standards specify protocols for enhancing online payment security to minimize the risk of fraud and data breaches, protecting both merchants and customers from financial loss.
Failure to comply with PCI standards and using non-secure small business payment options often lead to steep fines and in some cases revocation of the privilege to accept credit card payments going forward. Regular PCI scans are also highly recommended for every business to secure their payment networks. For more information, be sure to visit the PCI website.
If you are processing online payment solutions for small businesses, you need to implement data encryption. Encryption is converting readable data into encoded data to prevent access by unauthorized third parties. The party with the correct secret code — known as the decryption key — can successfully translate the data and gain access to it.
Think of encryption as an additional layer of protection that enhances online payment security and ensures confidential customer data remains private. Data encryption should be used on email platforms as well as your e-commerce website to secure small business payment options.
Many small businesses don’t have the resources to educate and train their employees on the latest cybersecurity standards. A simple employee mistake, like unknowingly downloading malware or falling for a phishing scheme, can compromise your company and customers’ financial data. Keeping your staff educated on the most secure small business payment options can protect your company from financial and reputational risk.
Use these tips to improve online payment security in your company:
- Create an internal system of checks and balances that is communicated from the top down.
- Mandate staff to update their passwords at regular intervals, implementing a minimum complex character requirement e.g. at least one upper case letter, special character, and a number.
- Educate your employees on the need for vigilance in identifying suspicious activities or transactions.
Protect Your Network
Cybercriminals are developing ever-more innovative tactics to steal corporate and consumer data to commit financial fraud. To improve the safety of online payment solutions for small businesses, you should protect your network security systems using the best and latest anti-malware software. Anti-malware software can safeguard your network from DDoS and phishing attacks, and help neutralize viruses and spyware. Make sure to update the antivirus software regularly to protect your network from the latest online threats.
While anti-malware software does a great job of securing small business payment options from the risk of online threats, you should also consider setting up an intrusion-detection system/intrusion-prevention system (IDS/IPS) to further protect your network. IDS/IPS tools help monitor the network for suspicious activities and block malicious attacks to keep your system secure. Using IDS/IPS tools along with anti-malware software will give you multiple layers of protection to safeguard your business’s online payment security.
Don’t Accept Paper Checks
The four best practices discussed above relate to online transactions, but check fraud is also an issue that plagues small businesses. To minimize the risk of bounced checks and secure your small business’s payment options, switch to using electronic checks like Paynote.
With Paynote, you can send and request verified digital checks to anyone with an email. Send or receive checks by simply entering your recipient’s name, email, amount, and description. Your recipient will verify their bank account and Paynote will transfer the funds. No apps to download or account required. You don’t need to know your recipient’s bank info and they don’t need to know yours. This means more secure payment solutions for your small business and customers. A simple, quick, and secure bank-to-bank transfer.
Partner With Seamless Chex to Secure Your Payments
While financial fraud leaves damaging effects on all companies, it can inflict a more severe blow on small businesses. Therefore, it is critical to secure your small business’s payment options to protect your company and customers from financial fraud. Using secure payment solutions for small businesses can improve profitability and increase consumer trust in your brand.
Seamless Chex offers secure credit card and digital check processing services to help companies minimize their exposure to financial fraud. If you’re looking for secure online payment options for small businesses, we can help. Contact us now to inquire about our Seamless Merchant and Paynote products for processing secure credit card, ACH, and digital check payments.