If you’re a small business owner, you’ve probably learned by now that accepting credit card payments isn’t an option – it’s a necessity. People rarely carry cash these days, and not accepting credit cards can have a negative impact on your business. Choosing to accept credit card payments means that you expose yourself to possible security risks. However, there are steps you can take to reduce these risks.

Overlooking some simple security risks could lead to a costly mistake such as stolen customer information, lost revenue, fines and even having your credit card acceptance privileges revoked. When it comes to accepting credit cards, the best things you can do are to be informed and to know the rules. Here are 4 things to keep in mind if you’re a small business that accepts credit card payments:

Fake credit cards

When you have a long line of customers waiting to check out, it can be easy to overlook the signs of a fake credit card. However, accepting a fake credit card can be detrimental to your business. Fake credit cards often have heavy scratches and damage to the magnetic strip, forcing a cashier to enter the credit card manually. Another clue to spotting a fake credit card is to look at the numbers. Often times, people with fake cards use poor equipment to create them, resulting in cards that don’t look normal. For example, the numbers may be crooked and may not line up the way they’re supposed to. The best way to know if something isn’t right is to learn the appearance of real cards. If you’re a business owner, take time to familiarize yourself and your staff with what a real credit card looks and feels like. This will help you better identify a fake when you see it.

Matching signatures and names on card and ID

Another overlooked security issue when merchants accept credit cards is a missing signature. When you accept a credit card, always check to see if the card is signed. If there’s no signature, it’s important that you request to see a photo ID. Larger companies rarely ask to see a photo ID, but for smaller businesses, it’s always a good idea to see identification when accepting credit cards.

Storing customer credit card info to charge later

If you’re storing customer credit card information only to charge them later, you could be violating the terms of service of your merchant account. Additionally, you’re putting your customer’s credit card information at risk, and many customers probably wouldn’t be comfortable knowing you have their credit card information on file. Credit card data is only allowed to be stored in very specific ways, and violating these rules can have serious consequences. When it comes to credit card information, never write down someone’s credit card number. This is the easiest way for information to be compromised. If the data is compromised, it can put you in financial risk in terms of both fraud liability and fines.

Untrained staff

If you’re a new small business owner, one of the first things you should do when you open a storefront is to do training on how to properly handle credit card transactions. Not being properly trained leaves your business vulnerable to fraudulent transactions and even legal action. It’s important that both you and your staff fully understand how to handle credit card data and what you can and cannot do when accepting credit card payments. As a business owner, you have a responsibility to do everything you can to protect your customers’ personal data. It’s not only good business – it’s also the law.

Accepting credit card payments may seem like an overwhelming task, and you may be wondering if it’s even worth it. Accepting credit cards isn’t as scary as it seems, and you can easily avoid security issues by being aware and using your best judgment.

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