Minimising fraud and maximising security for your payments

Ensuring your finances are safe and sound is a priority, regardless of whether you’re a financial controller, a business owner, or a consumer.

According to Sage Pay’s Payments Landscape Report, security is more important to consumers than the convenience, cost, or speed of their payments. Security of payments is also vital to the UK’s small and medium sized businesses who lost a combined total of almost £18 billion to fraud in the last twelve months – an average of £3,450 each.

Despite this staggering figure, just under a third of companies we surveyed (32%) aren’t using any tools to prevent fraud. So, what are some of the initial steps you could take to boost the security of your payments?

Curb your cash

The volume of cash payments is decreasing, and almost two thirds of consumers (65%) predict that we will one day be a completely cashless society. It might not be entirely practical yet, but going completely cashless does remove the administrative headache of handling, logging, and ensuring the security of physical currency. At the same time, it avoids the issue of on-site opportunistic theft and dodges the issue of fraudulent currency. One less payment type to worry about, and plenty of time saved.

Get the guidelines

The Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council provides best practice guidelines for accepting and managing card-based payments. If your business accepts payment by credit or debit card, then ensuring you’re compliant with these guidelines is a critical step to protecting your business and customers from data theft and fraud.

Consider contactless

For in-person payments, contactless cards are becoming increasingly popular. According to the UK Cards Association, contactless payments accounted for more than £2.5 billion of spending in the first half of 2015. As well as consumer convenience, major fraud prevention benefits include reducing the possibility of skimming and preventing the use of counterfeit cards. With the increase in maximum payment amount to £30, contactless payments will only become more popular. Those businesses which don’t already support them should make them a priority for 2016.

Taking to tokenisation

One direct path to improved security for online payments is tokenisation. This uses electronic security keys that allow payment systems to create one-off codes for online transactions, instead of transmitting card details. This means that businesses no longer need to worry about handling sensitive, regulated card data, and can therefore bypass the associated security headaches. As a result, companies can also save money by decreasing their need for PCI requirements, with an average saving of £5,700 per business.

One in every four businesses already uses tokenised payments, and more than a third of these have actually seen a significant improvement in their online sales conversion rates too.

Managing your money managers

Whatever payments your business accepts, make sure you have an agreed practice for handling each of them, and that each member of your team has been fully briefed. A simple set of internal guidelines can help to prevent any mistakes which might help fraudsters. If you are the victim of fraud, set up a fraud database and make sure that your staff know to update it whenever they encounter any breaches.

Improved security comes from a combination of the proper use of technology, effective management, and reduced complexity. If you start with the ideas above then you’ll be well on the way to more robust security measures.

Sage Pay has the highest level of card data security (PCI DSS Level 1 compliant) so customers can trade with peace of mind and shoppers are protected against fraud. Find out more about Sage Pay payment solutions.