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Credit card fraud is a serious problem in the United States, and to keep customers safe, every business needs to have a credit card payment processing solution with the highest security levels possible. Protecting customer data requires well-implemented encryption, careful authentication of a customer’s identity and up-to-the-minute alerts to prevent unauthorized card use. Most credit card payment processing systems take a number of steps to ensure this type of protection, but even so, businesses should be aware of the security measures used by the best modern credit card processing systems when setting up a merchant account.

Security depends somewhat on the type of transactions that a business handles and the terminals used to process those transactions. For instance, there are different security protocols for Internet transactions than there are for physical terminals. However, all transactions must meet certain guidelines for customer safety. Credit card payment processing companies use authentication tokens to ensure security. The term “tokens” is relatively broad and includes customer passwords, unique numbers and decryption codes that stop information from falling into the wrong hands. The basic role of an authentication token is to ensure that a customer’s card is authorized for use. Tokens are relayed to the payment processing company, which verifies them and authorizes the sale. If a transaction can’t be authorized, the credit card payment processing company will relay a signal to the merchant’s terminal that explains this. For instance, “insufficient funds” messages might be relayed if a debit card transaction can’t be processed. These messages help to ensure security and make payment processing easier from the merchant’s side.

Encryption is growing in importance in all types of credit card transactions. When data is encrypted, it is digitally scrambled using a complex algorithm that is absolutely impossible to crack without the right password or key phrase. Encrypted data stays safe until the correct authentication tokens are in place, and the best processing companies use the highest security levels of encryption to protect their clients. This is especially important in Internet transactions, because if a third party accesses the data that a customer sends when making a purchase, that party will not be able to access the customer’s credit card information or any other sensitive data. Encryption is measured by bits, and most credit card payment processing companies use 24-32 bit encryption or higher.

Good security can mean more customers in both online and physical transactions, as savvy consumers look to see that the appropriate security measures are in place before making purchases. By getting a great processing solution with ample security features, a business can protect its customers and ensure future growth.