Does your business ask customers for their credit card number at any time during the sales process? If so, it is essential to honor the privacy of customers’ private information and to stay compliant with Payment Card Industry rules.
Every business that has an account with a merchant services vendor is required to follow PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliance when collecting and storing credit card data. There are many different levels of compliance depending on the technology you use to capture and store credit card data. These levels depend on whether you use a point of sale terminal, the customer hands you their card, orders are entered through an online shopping cart, or a combination.
Your Favorite Orange County Bookkeepers have listed several no-no’s and best practices that you’ll want to share with your staff to make sure they are properly trained below:
- Never ask a client to send a credit card number via unsecured email.
- Never take down a credit card number over the phone on paper before entering it into your system. If you do, you need to shred the paper immediately.
- Never ask clients to take a photo of their credit card to send to you.
Do you use credit card authorization forms in your business? If so, you will need to consider proper collection and storage of these forms. Storing a credit card outside any system requires you to follow further PCI compliance steps.
- After a client has signed and completed the credit card authorization form, you will need to provide a secure, encrypted email connection for them to send it back to you. Alternately, you can set up a private client portal for them using Box, DropBox, ShareFile, or another generic portal or file transfer app. Sending a PDF via email is not a great idea unless the PDF is password-protected and the password is sent via secure, encrypted email.
- Once you have received the form on your end, you will need to keep it in a secure place. If you print or download it, you’ll need to follow physical building security protocols to stay in compliance with PCI as well as to protect the customer data.
It is not a surprise that so many credit cards get hacked each year. It’s inconvenient to customers and vendors when their credit card gets compromised and much of this can be prevented through proactive procedures. Respect your customers and help them keep their credit card data safe. If you’d like further assistance and information contact your Favorite OC Bookkeepers for help!