Protecting Your Customers from Breaches

Every time there’s a ‘celebrity nudes leak’ or a newsworthy data breach, a lot of people get worried. The savvy / paranoid among us will immediately change passwords. Some quit the compromised platform. Unfortunately, these breaches sometimes happen in spaces we can’t do without. Most of us can’t – or won’t – quit our email, bank, or social media, for example.

So as a business owner, how do you keep yourself and your credit card customers safe from threats to data privacy? First, it helps to understand the main ways data gets breached:

  • Paper breaches, through intercepted statements, files, or receipts
  • Physical breaches through stolen cards CDs, computers, or smartphones
  • Technical breaches through “hacking” or skimming
  • Virtual breaches through malware and phishing
  • Inside jobs by dishonest employees

Payment gateways are required to undertake measures against each of these vulnerabilities, and the PCI DSS addresses each area. Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards have six principles divided into twelve recommendations. Full PCI compliance will keep your payment gateway safer from the breaches listed above, so your first step as a business is to ensure your selected merchant processor is on the list of compliant gateways.

Achieving compliance

PCI DSS compliance standards are not always mandatory, but certain card networks – notably Visa – require it before they allow their card holders to transact with your business. As a business, it’s important to make sure you sign up with a merchant account provider that can help you maintain PCI compliance.

Levels of encryption

Ask (or read) about your payment processor’s encryption standards. Confirm whether it’s end-to-end or tokenization, which uses randomly generated one-time codes to offer access. Consider using a processor with an integrated shopping cart for improved security. Ask your merchant account provider about specific security measures like verification codes and address validation (AVS, CVC, CVV etc.)

For more information on protecting customers against payment gateway breaches, or to sign up for a merchant account, please call (888) 924-2743 or go to


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