2. Use an EMV chip reader
Credit and debit card data stored on embedded microprocessor chips is more difficult for would-be thieves to capture and use for making counterfeit cards than the kind stored on the old magnetic stripes. If you've put off investing in payment card processors that can read embedded microprocessor chips, it's time to make the switch.
EMV chip technology (the acronym stands for Europay, Mastercard, and Visa, the companies that originally developed it) is now the retail industry standard. Chip card readers are installed at 63% of all U.S. in-store payment terminals, according to U.S. Payments Forum.3
3. Secure online payment data
If you conduct business online, your payment processing system should use encryption and tokenization to reinforce the guardrails against the theft of customer data. Encryption encodes customers' credit card information, so the wrong eyes won't be able to read the information as it's transmitted through your processing system or over the internet.
Tokenization adds another layer of protection by removing any readable data from your system altogether. With tokenization, sensitive data is automatically converted into a unique, random set of characters — called tokens — that retain the essential information in the original form while preventing that data from being stored in the merchant's computer system. The key to translating the tokens into meaningful information is safely stored on a remote payment processor database, called a token vault. Only the payment processor can read the tokens.
4. Be careful and transparent about sharing data
In the PwC survey, 71% of respondents said they would stop doing business with a company for sharing their sensitive data with third parties without their permission. While consumers want to control their personal data, it's probably fair to say that many are confused about or unaware of the data-sharing practices of the businesses they deal with.
Keeping customers in the dark about your data-sharing practices leaves you open to backlash and public scandal if the data is ever misused. Transparency is always the best course, along with ensuring that the parties with whom you share your customers' data have strong protocols in place to protect it.
Taking steps to keep your customers' data safe lets them know you have their back — and that will keep them coming back to spend their dollars with your business.