Credit card processing is a very complex process, involving several entities, each with its own security protocols. This means that making sure that credit cardholder information is safe is a very hard job. This is why most merchants nowadays choose to become PCI compliant, in order to reassure clients and partners that their security standards are among the best. Also, great efforts are being made in trying to improve the process, making it faster, more secure and harder to succumb to hackers and other data thieves.

What Are the Objectives of Being PCI Compliant?

Last year the number of credit card transactions in the US alone was around 108 million per day. That means that the people handling the credit card information for their customers needed to be extra careful with it in order to not expose them to various risks such as data leaks or cyber theft. But in order to do so a number of things have to be coordinated just right. Among them is a set of rules that merchants need to follow in order to make sure that their clients are protected and to give them the sense of protection they need. That is why more and more merchants want to comply to Payment Card Industry security standards.

One of the main objectives of being  PCI compliant  is to build and maintain a strong security climate and culture within your organization. This means that your employees have to be specially trained in order to correctly identify potential dangers and know how to address them before they can cause any damages or loses to you or your customers. Being PCI compliant means that you have to constantly work on this objective and always make sure that the security policy you have is up to code with international standards. What’s even better about becoming PCI compliant is that you can even enhance those standards f you feel like you can, and know how to make businesses even safer for clients.

The next objective of being PCI compliant is to be part of a uniformed international network that helps each member to become better when it comes to credit card security. Being part of this world wide group means that you are able to exchange information and view-points with merchants all over the world in order to find new insights and to help you better your own security policy. Being PCI compliant also means that you should undergo periodic tests and monitoring of your security structures and policies, in order to attest that they are up to date, and enhance whatever and whenever you can.

How to Improve Credit Card Processing?

Since the invention of credit cards, back in the ‘50s,  credit card processing has been an always evolving process. This is mainly because credit card issuers and processors needed to stay ahead of anyone who might have less than honorable intentions. This led to credit card processing being one of the biggest revenues generating industries in the world. All over the glob credit card processing helps billions of dollars, pounds, euros and other currencies exchange hands and accounts, enabling both customers and merchants to go on with their daily lives and trade commodity goods and services. But improving credit card processing can be difficult at times. Especially because of the giant volume of transactions being made and due to different security standards being applied in different parts of the world.

For instance, credit card processing can’t be simply shut down for a day or two until the new changes are put into place. Due to the fast paced world of today, a day when people can’t use their credit cards means massive loses, especially for the card issuers. Credit cards were developed in order to help people avoid carrying large amounts of money around with them and to let them be able to buy something they want now and pay for it later. Disabling this system even for a day, means that payments to merchants can’t go through, money is made inaccessible to almost everybody and entire industries can grind to a halt. This is why any improvement being made to credit card processing must be done without obstructing the transactions that are being made.

One the improvements made to credit card processing, besides the security policies put in place by every card issuer, processor and merchant, is the way that authorizations are made for payments to go through. Usually, all that was needed was a PIN number from the cardholder, and that only in case of large transactions. But due to increasing risks of information leaks and data thefts, some adjustments have been made in order to ensure another level of security. Namely, the biometric signature has been introduced to credit card processing. This means that the cardholder is required to scan his or her digit in order to authorize a payment. This makes the process more secure due to the uniqueness of everyone’s digital fingerprint and to the complexity required to simulate them.

Another way of making credit card processing even more secure is by shortening the response time of the parties involved. In order for a payment to go through several entities need to work together. Among them there are a number of banks and credit card companies. From the moment a payment is initiated by the credit cardholder and until the money is actually deposited in the account of the merchant, several days can pass. During this time several security checks are performed in order to attest that the credit cardholder is actually the right one, that he has the funds necessary to make the payment and that the merchant has a working account with a verified bank. After this several other percentages are redirected to various other parties involved in the whole process. This means that hackers have more time to interfere with the accounts and steal valuable information and even actual money. Efforts are being made in order to cut this response time down from days to hours. The main way this is done is by using faster internet connections and improving the way security checks are being done. 

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