5 Ways to Make Mobile Transactions More Secure

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Today your ability to keep your customer’s data safe online can mean life or death for your business.

To the businessman or businesswoman, mobile payments are THE only way to go. At least that’s the message credit card companies, banks and even mobile phone providers are excited to tell us when describing the technical advances that now allow you to take credit card payments using phones or tablets from just about anywhere. These commercials show a wonderful world where merchants are no longer tethered to big, clunky cash registers, but out wheeling-and-dealing.

Mobile is the next frontier in online transactions

If you’ve seen these mobile credit card transaction apps and related card reader clip-ons in action, they really are handy for occasions where someone may have forgotten their cash, like a craft fair or even a sidewalk sale. But are they secure? That’s the big question right now. The typical answers you’ll hear are “most likely” or “probably,” which aren’t good enough for reluctant customers.

So merchants who want to take precautions and offer safe, secure transactions, need to put a variety of safeguards in place. Here are the basics.

  • Issue a receipt. It will require another piece of hardware (a mobile printer), but it gives the purchaser a hard copy of the transaction plus may require them to sign for their approval of the transaction. Some merchant apps also send email confirmations if the customer shares their email address. This gives both parties proof that business took place.
  • Require a password. U.S. News and World Report suggests the owner of the tablet or smartphone keep it locked at all times, which can keep customer’s data from being compromised if someone steals your device. Modern security mobile features can include PINs, swiping in a certain pattern or even a thumbprint. High-level hackers have figured out ways around these, but your average criminal may just take advantage of an opportunity to take the item and run.
  • Use an antivirus program. Over the years — and thousands of worms, viruses and pieces of malware later — these programs are almost required on every desktop. But not everyone realizes mobile devices can face the same risks of infection. Mobilesecurity.com, an online safety blog, states Android devices are particularly targeted. Programs that actively scan your files and are regularly updated like Norton or McAffee are recommended.
  • Know your device. Is it using the newest operating system and the most recently released app updates from recognized sources? Updates often include fresh security features. Are you storing customer data or deleting it regularly? Has it been tampered with (jailbroken)? PCIComplianceGuide.com says these user modifications may affect its ability to be recognized by your carrier, and make it more vulnerable to security breaches.
  • Check your connection. Unless you’re in a recognizable and secure Wi-Fi zone, like the boundaries of your own store, it’s risky to send customer data via the nearest signal. Instead, more phone carriers allow you to turn your phones or tablet into mobile hot spots. For example, if you’re a T-Mobile customer, you can check T-Mobile’s 4G coverage map for areas around the U.S. with strong, secure signals, or create your own location. It can cost a bit more and use a more of your data plan, but can offer you and your customers peace of mind.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Flavio Martins
Flavio Martins is the VP of Operations and Customer Support at DigiCert, Inc., a leading provider of enterprise authentication services and high-assurance SSL certificates trusted by thousands of government, education, and Fortune 500 organizations. Flavio is an award-winning customer service blogger, customer service fanatic, and on a mission to show that organizations can use customer experience as a competitive advantage win customer loyalty. Blog: Win the Customer!

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