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Credit Card Payment Security Risks

What are Credit Card Payment Security Risks?

Accepting credit and debit cards is a necessity for business, but it comes with challenges and risks. While many technological innovations such as CAPTCHA and EMV chip cards have helped to make payments more secure, cyberattackers are constantly and relentlessly looking for vulnerabilities and new techniques to infiltrate accounts. The following are some credit card security risks that businesses should be aware of:

Credit card information storage. Storing full credit card information can leave your organization vulnerable to data breaches from outside, and even internally. Failure to store credit card information properly can lead to remediation, fines, and possibly the revocation of your ability to accept credit cards. Compliance with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) ensures that your organization has followed standards that foster safe processing environments by using secure storage strategies such as encryption and PCI compliant third-party storage. With encryption and third-party storage, employees should only be able to see the last four digits or a credit card, which offers protection from hacking and insider threats.

Fraud. Card not present (CNP) fraud is on the rise while card-present fraud is on the decline.1 Whenever a customer makes a purchase online or over the phone, the CVV number and billing address are typically required to complete the transaction. With so much of this information available on the dark web, cyberattackers are often able to match up enough personal details to engage in fraudulent CNP transactions with user credit cards. Cyberattackers can obtain the details through phishing, skimming, hacking, bots, and more. Once they have the information, they can use it to make purchases and take other unauthorized actions for financial gain. One method for detecting CNP fraud is using the Address Verification Service (AVS) to verify that the billing address matches what the card issuer has on file.

POS skimming. Skimming refers to the process of compromising credit card information at the point of sale (POS). Skimmers are tiny devices that are attached to legitimate card readers that collect credit card numbers that cyberattackers will later recover and use for fraudulent purposes, such as making online purchases. Protect your organization from skimming threats by monitoring your POS device for signs of skimming and never leaving your POS device unattended.

Outdated systems. Outdated software, hardware, applications, and browsers can lead to data breaches that can be catastrophic to your business. Ensure that all components of your computer systems are receiving the latest updates and that they are promptly installed. Be aware of the security risks associated with the continued use of legacy systems.

Employee error. Employee negligence is a frequent source of data breaches. Prevent credit card data breaches by ensuring that employees are trained in cybersecurity risks, threats, and prevention.

1 Lebow, 2023, “Card-not-present fraud to make up 73% of card payment fraud”