If you’re a “netizen,” you probably don’t think twice about buying stuff online. You’ve spent your whole life on the web, and are constantly on your smartphone or tablet. You may even spend more time (and money) online than off. This applies to almost everyone under 30, because the internet and its related devices are ubiquitous to that generation. But if you’re less familiar or comfortable with the Internet, then you’re probably more wary about it. Let’s look at some important terms that will protect your credit card details from fraud and also help you look a little less green in the world of online security.
SSL / TLS
Glance at the address bar of this website right now. Does it say ‘http’ or ‘https’? Is there a padlock anywhere on the address bar, or maybe the word ‘secure’? That means the site has an active SSL or TLS certificate. These acronyms stand for and Secure Sockets Layer and Transport Layer Security. In the past, they ensured encryption, but nowadays, they’ve become so easily available that they face constant attacks by hackers. Some of these attacks are just exploratory, but they’ve unearthed a lot of fraud vulnerabilities. So SSL / TLS is a start, but it’s no longer sufficient.
You might type letters and numerals into your computer, but digital machines only see 1s and 0s, grouped in a series of eight. This system is called binary code. For example, when you type the letter A, the computer sees 01000001. Or if you type numeral 9, the computer sees 00111001.
Converting these binary codes back into letters and numerals is effortless for computers. That’s why even this binary code needs to be further codified when you’re dealing with sensitive details like money. You want a system where your details are encrypted as soon as you type them, decrypted when they reach their destination, then encrypted before being sent back to you for decryption. This “end-to-end encryption” is ideal for online payments.
In order for your business or online store to accept credit cards, you need an account with a payment processor. When one of your customers makes a purchase, your payment processor verifies your customer’s credit card information, and then transfers funds from your customer’s credit card account into your merchant account by connecting your customer’s issuing bank with your acquiring bank.
Acquiring Bank / Issuing Bank
The bank that issued your customer’s credit card is called the “issuing bank.” Your bank – where your merchant account resides – is called the acquiring bank. Both banks are linked to the internet through a payment gateway. Reconciliation of these digital transfers typically takes one to three days.
For more information on useful online payment security terminology, or to sign up for a merchant account, please call (888) 924-2743 or go to Charge.com.