The use of Ecommerce (doing business via the Internet) has dramatically risen in Australia and around the world over the past few years. This has been mainly due to the fact that consumer confidence in paying for goods and services over the internet using their credit cards has reached an all time high. Years of research and development has led to secure, reliable credit card transactions. In fact, even the major banks are now saying that using your credit card over the internet is generally safer than using it in a ‘bricks and mortar’ store!
This is great news for businesses of all sizes as they find their websites generating extra revenue and helping their organization to grow and prosper. Unfortunately, the threat of credit card fraud is also rising and many businesses do not realise the lack of protection they have until they become victims themselves.
Speak to any of the major banks and you will find that there is very little protection for merchants who accept credit cards over the internet, even if they are using the banks own payment gateways. All it takes is for the owner of a credit card to contact their bank and dispute a transaction to cause an often irreversible charge back to the merchant.
To avoid becoming a victim of credit card fraud, merchants need to be more ‘street smart’ in regards to payments made over the internet. There are certain high risk areas that you should be aware of when accepting these payments:
- International purchases
- Purchases coming from countries / regions that you don’t usually deal with
- Purchases made that are of much higher value than your regular transactions
- Customers who try a few different credit card numbers to get one that will go through
- International purchases that demand overnight or express packages
- The use of post office boxes as a delivery address
- The use of a free email service as the contact details (such as Hotmail or Yahoo)
Although these circumstances do not immediately suggest fraud, it has been found that fraudulent transactions are more likely to occur then. If you are suspicious of a transaction that is taking place, try using one or more of the following tips to make the transaction more secure:
- Ask for the 3 or 4 digit security number on the card. All Visa cards have a 3 digit number on the back of the card and all Amex cards have a 4 digit number on the front. Many people who have access to stolen credit card lists do not have access to these numbers.
- Try speaking to the person on the phone to verify their identity.
- Always try and deliver to a residential address, especially when delivering overseas.
- Ask for a photo copy of the front and back of the card to be made and either scanned and emailed or faxed.
- If you still feel uncertain or nervous about the transaction, ask for another method of payment such as a bank to bank transfer or bank cheque. Note: Don’t send the goods until payment has been received and cleared.
- Never accept credit card details via email. Always demand they are entered via a SECURE payment gateway.
- Use Mantis Technologies’ E-Gateway credit card gateway to accept payments (explained later)
There are no 100% fraud proof methods for accepting credit cards over the internet but by following some or all of these tips, you can significantly reduce the risk to yourself. Remember that even if a transaction has been authorised and cleared by your bank, it can still be subject to fraud and charged back at a later date (even weeks or months later).
At Mantis Technologies, we have created a credit card gateway system that has the security of both the customer AND the merchant in mind. The following unique features of E-Gateway help reduce the likelihood of fraudulent transactions:
Unlike a bank payment gateway that will automatically approve the transaction, even if it could be fraudulent, E-Gateway allows you to manually process the transaction. This way, you can keep an eye out for the warning signs mentioned earlier and take action before the transaction is completed.
Using SSL and card number encryption, E-Gateway gives the merchant and customer peace of mind as they can rely on the fact that hackers can’t get in and steal information as it is being transmitted.