Processing payments is not a risk-free endeavor. Between the many players involved and the threat of security breach, it can be daunting to limit risky transactions. Fortunately, there are steps that merchants can make to avoid high risk payment processing that are relatively simple and painless.

Let’s explore.

  1. Utilize tokenization and P2PE

Security measures like tokenization and point-to-point encryption are powerful methods that help protect merchants from breach. In tokenization, the sensitive card information is replaced with a worthless, surrogate value during the transaction process. This value gets passed along during the transaction, while real data is kept safe in a secure server.

Point-to-point encryption, or P2PE, occurs inside of the hardware, right in the read head of the terminal. Encryption occurs before authorization, where it turns sensitive card data into unreadable ciphertext. This ciphertext can only be decrypted using a secret key.

Both methods are valuable security solutions and can be used together to help protect from breach. It’s important for merchants to find solutions that offer both tokenization during the transaction process and encryption within the hardware in order to limit the risk during payment processing.

  1. Lower PCI scope and maintain compliance

PCI compliance is a set of standards issued by the PCI SSC (Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council) that apply to all members, merchants, and service providers that store, process, or transmit cardholder data. These requirements are put into place to help lower the risk when running card transactions, and it’s important that every merchant be aware of them.

Every merchant is asked to be compliant, but you can outscore some of your data and lower your PCI scope. Choose a PCI compliant service provider or software vendor to manage your cardholder data so that they are responsible for PCI compliance in that area, where they excel. Research providers and be sure to ask about PCI compliance specifically.

  1. Stay on top of the EMV updates

With the liability shift last year, most merchants know it was in their best interest to make changes to terminals regarding EMV capability. Update terminals now to avoid risk. EMV capable terminals accept cards loaded with special microprocessor chips that store sensitive payment data and encrypt for each purchase. Smart merchants will want to ensure that their terminals have the ability to process these card transactions safely. Talk to your terminal provider about EMV options right away.

Save yourself the headache of risky processing and plan to go forward with these steps today. To speak with a payment professional more about high risk processing and payment solutions, call 866.290.5400.

Photo credit: Jay Mantri

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