Criminals who commit fraud do not discriminate. Every consumer and every merchant is a viable target – they want your money and will break any law to get it. And they seem to be darn good at what they do. The Internet Crime Complaint Center reports that yearly dollars lost grew by about $500 million from 2004-2009 – and at present, where on any given day you can read about the next fraud victim, you know that this trend isn’t showing any signs of slowing. All merchants must be diligent about fraud protection to ensure happy customers – and good transaction rates.
Being diligent means being PCI compliant. So if you are a merchant and process any debit, credit, and prepaid cards branded with one of the five card association/brand logos that participate in the PCI Security Standards Council – American Express, Discover, JCB, MasterCard, and Visa International – that means you need to be PCI compliant.
Being non-compliant can be catastrophic to a small business. Penalties are severe and usually revealed to a merchant after it’s too late. The payment brands can, and do, fine an acquiring bank $5,000 to $100,000 per month for PCI compliance violations. The banks will then pass these fines down to the merchant, and then either terminate the relationship or increase transaction fees.
While being PCI compliant is the first step, merchant processors will also assess your fraud risk to determine what kind of transaction fee you will be charged. Lowering Online Fraud to Lower Transaction Fees, featured on SmallBiz Club – a website sponsored by Office Depot and the Tarkenton Companies for small businesses – gives you several tips for decreasing your fraud risk.
The good news is there are security measures you can implement to help improve your merchant rate. Some of these measures include:
- Address Verification (AVS)
- Card Security Code (CSC) Request
- Secure Online Payment Pages
- Data Breach Protection
Bluefin Payment Systems offers a secure payment gateway, PayConex, that hosts a PCI compliant payment page for its merchants. It features debit/credit card and ACH processing, and an optional virtual terminal that merchants can use to process transactions from any PC, any time. Learn more about fraud security measures and PCI- compliance today in Bluefin’s article on SmallBizClub.