The Internet is an amazing place for businesses to reach their customers, but it can also be a dangerous place when issues of identity and security are not controlled correctly.
One such issue, with irreversible consequences, comes when a business gets blacklisted from one or more payment processors. This blacklisting is often due to the merchant’s inability to prove that they have received payment for goods or services rendered at their online store.
The Following Steps Will Show How Merchants Can Avoid This Unfortunate Situation In The First Place:
1.Accepting Electronic Payments Through A Payment Gateway Or Other Form Of Ecommerce Software
In accepting electronic payments from customers, it’s important to ensure that you choose to use secure connections and SSL certificates to protect your customers’ information. This is vital for protecting you from being on the matchlist and your customers from fraudulent use of their credit card data, as well as keeping the merchant’s identity safe.
2. Determine Whether Your Company Requires Proof Of Purchase
While there is no single way in which all online merchants must verify that customers have purchased goods and/or services, some methods used include:
Defining and using a ‘standard time period in which the customer must submit proof of purchase along with their order. For example, suppose your business sells downloadable products that are not shipped to the customer after 24 hours of completing an order/purchase. In that case, you may instruct them to send you a copy of their credit card statement within 48 hours so they can complete their download.
Requiring customers to show proof of purchase on every order they make can effectively prevent fraudulent purchases but is inconvenient for legitimate customers who don’t mind submitting one proof of purchase per order.
3. Reassigning Customer Order Reference Numbers Upon Approval
This step is especially crucial for merchants who allow customers to download items immediately after purchase. The purpose of this step is to ensure that you are notified of which customer has downloaded which product and can issue refunds if necessary.
For example, suppose a customer purchases an e-book on how to grow tomatoes. In that case, they will be supplied with an order number that they can then use in retrieving their e-book – or redirected elsewhere if they have not paid for it yet. However, once you have approved their payment or order, that order number should be reassigned to the next customer who wishes to purchase the same ebook.
4. Storing Commercial Records Longer Than Usual
It’s not unusual for merchants to store copies of credit card statements and other proof of purchase data for several years – especially if they are selling something like a product, where it may take time for them to receive payment.
However, this information can also provide evidence that you have received payment from your customers after their 48 hour window period has expired. So even if you no longer need them stored, having them available can help resolve payment issues much faster than trying to track down all your old emails containing the relevant copy of the credit card receipt.
5. Implementing Fraud Detection Measures
Your best line of defense against fraudulent use of payment data is to implement measures to detect it. Since there are countless ways by which thieves can obtain copies of your customers’ credit card information, the best way to fight back is with multiple layers and methods in place at all times:
- Have firewalls in place in order to block any traffic from suspicious IP addresses.
- Use a secure server when accepting online payments so that third parties cannot intercept customer data.
- Implement software that identifies and automatically blocks suspicious activity, such as high numbers of failed login attempts.
- Monitor social networks for possible threats such as malicious links or posts.
6. Accepting Payments Through Trusted Providers
The Internet is no longer just an unexplored territory where anything can happen – there are companies there with an agenda to exploit people and businesses alike.
Therefore, it’s important for merchants to take security issues seriously when conducting business online in the digital age. While some of these steps may sound like common sense, it’s surprising how many don’t follow them – especially considering that even one mistake can land your business on a blacklist that will deactivate all of their electronic payment transactions.
This leads directly back to point number 1: accepting payments through a trusted provider who insures you against such losses, whether due to fraud or malicious activity from third parties.