Last editedNov 20223 min read
Customers now expect speed, ease, and variety of choice when they pay for goods and services, both in your brick-and-mortar store and at your online checkout. To stay competitive, you need to offer plenty of payment options, especially for your online customers. There are lots of online payment options to choose from, so which should you offer? Most importantly of all, which of them are considered safe payment methods online?
Is online payment safe?
Every time an online payment is made, there’s a small risk that hackers might secretly steal a buyer’s bank or payment information. If they do, they can use that account to make fraudulent payments to their accounts, purchase items or get access to cash. Using the most secure methods of online payment systems can help to combat these kinds of unauthorised payments.
To a degree, the onus on making sure online payments are safe lies with the individual merchant. Take the following steps to enhance security:
Make sure that you comply with official Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards and practices. These vary depending upon the number of online payments your business processes per year, and the full text of the PCI Data Security Standard (DSS) can be found at the PCI website. Although a payment platform like GoCardless is PCI compliant, it’s always worth gaining your own working understanding of the rules and standards which need to be followed.
Ensure you’re using SSL encryption on your site. Many website building tools include this as a matter of course, and you can tell if a website is using SSL encryption by checking whether the website address starts with https.
Make sure that you have a firewall in place to protect your site from cyber criminals looking to gain access and steal the personal data of people who’ve made online payments with you. Once the firewall is in place, you should always apply updates as soon as prompted, as these have been designed to deal with new and different threats.
Best online safe payment methods
Here are some safe payment methods to consider using:
Direct debit is a well-known, trusted payment method, so your customers are probably familiar with it. It’s a payment method that enables customers to set up recurring payments or one-off card payments using an online payment system. It’s considered a very safe payment method, and in the UK, direct debits are protected under the Direct Debit Guarantee.
Working with GoCardless makes it quicker and simpler to set up direct debit payments via our platform, rather than having to work through the long and hugely complex process of setting up direct debits as a small business.
When it comes to secure payment methods online, credit cards are considered to be one of the best options. Credit card companies make use of the latest online security features, including fraud monitoring and encryption so that customer details are always kept safe. Visa, American Express and Mastercard are examples of companies providing a safe way to make online purchases in multiple currencies.
Another well-known safe payment method online is debit card. By using a debit card to complete online payments, funds are deducted directly from a buyer’s account. Debit cards offer secure online transactions, since issuers provide comprehensive fraud monitoring services and are quick to detect any fraudulent activity.
A prepaid card is another safe option, wherein funds are loaded onto the card so there’s no possibility of direct withdrawals from your current account.
Payment apps like Google Pay and Apple Pay and PayPal also offer many different security features, e.g. facial and fingerprint recognition, as well as multi-factor authentication. Shoppers can also store credit and debit cards in a digital mobile wallet to use online and in-store. Apple Pay features security that’s built right into the system.
How safe is contactless payment?
Contactless payments are fast and convenient, but some people worry ‘How safe is contactless payment?’ Generally, contactless payments are very safe. According to a report in Which magazine, contactless fraud accounts for less than 4% of all card fraud.
The per-transaction limit is a safety measure used by card issuers to restrict the number of contactless transactions that can be made before a PIN is requested. In the UK, banks must ask for a PIN if cumulative contact payments exceed £300. This is a safeguard known as ‘strong customer authentication’, preventing a thief from going on a big spending spree with a stolen contactless card. Digital wallets like Apple and Google Pay are exempt from this cap.
How to start taking safe payment methods online
Online payment methods are generally easy to set up. If you have an online presence, you can usually integrate most online payment services into your website. If you can’t take payments on your site, some services allow you to link or invoice customers so they can pay you.
No matter how you take payments online, make sure you’re using SSL (secure sockets layer) protocol, which creates an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. When you have an SSL certificate from a trusted SSL Certificate Issuer, users see the padlock symbol in their browser when they’re on your site and feel confident in giving you their information.
We can help
GoCardless helps you automate payment collection, cutting down on the amount of admin your team needs to deal with when chasing invoices. Find out how GoCardless can help you with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.