Starting an online store is relatively easy. It takes a couple of hours to create a website from scratch. Content management systems like WordPress are easy to use, highly intuitive, and geared towards amateurs and professionals alike. But, whilst creating a website is easy, if you have plans to take payments on your website, you need to think carefully about payment processing solutions.
The Rise of Online Shopping
People make online purchases every day. We are now so used to buying items and services online that we don’t think twice about typing in our credit card details on a random website. We trust the process and we don’t expect to be scammed. In fact, online shopping is now so popular that many big brand traditional bricks and mortar stores are struggling to survive.
Reputation is Everything
However, just because we are happy to spend money online, it doesn’t mean companies can take their customers for granted. Online retailers must pay close attention to security and do everything in their power to ensure their customers have a positive user experience. Reputation is everything online, so once a business suffers a serious cybersecurity breach or the payment processing system breaks down for some other reason, customers are quick to lose faith in the business. Indeed, a report issued by a security firm found that two-thirds of customers would stop using an online retailer if it suffered a major security breach, and if a retailer does suffer a breach, customers want to know immediately – not several months later.
A large online retailer in the UK suffered a major security breach and millions of customer accounts were compromised. The stolen data was linked to only one credit card provider and the company in question took immediate action to cancel the affected customers’ cards, but this one incident shows just how vulnerable online payment systems are.
Protecting Customer Data
No matter how much e-commerce businesses and payment providers do to keep financial data safe, it often feels as if the criminals are always one step ahead. Cyber fraud is big business. Criminals make billions of dollars from defrauding customers and retailers; it is literally a full-time job for many hackers. Of course, money is a great motivator, so where there is a will, there is a way, but there are a few things small e-commerce businesses can do to protect their customers from cyber criminals.
Online retailers must pay close attention to website security. Customers need to know an e-commerce business is using a secure payment system, so it is worth investing in an amex merchant account that offers multi-layered security. Data encryption is standard practice with online payment systems, but not all businesses use the latest systems.
It is impossible to offer 100% protection against cyber fraud, but if your business takes payments online, review your website security regularly to ensure customer data is protected at all times. And if you do suffer a data breach, be honest and contact customers immediately.