Card payment security: Just how safe are card machines and digital wallets?

Card payment security: Just how safe are card machines and digital wallets?

Card payment security is an issue that comes up for any business looking to use a card machine and take payments through debit cards, credit cards, or digital wallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay.

There’s a lot of myth and rumour when it comes to the security of card machines.

Much of it from the very early days when businesses first started to use them and the technology wasn’t fully understood.

And as often happens, those rumours have become accepted as truth to some businesses, who still remain unsure about whether accepting card payments is safe.

The truth is, payments made by card and digital wallets are the safest way to accept payments today – perhaps more so than taking cash payments.

Want to know why? Keep reading.

Card machine security built in

All card machines come fully equipped with digital security measures that protect both you as the business owner and your customers from criminals.

They use near-field communications (NFC) technology which securely exchanges data between readers and the payment card.

Each card machine is equipped with an NFC chip which interacts with the card or smart device (which has a similar chip installed) when it’s placed in close proximity – within a few centimetres.

This technology offers a high level of encryption which makes the data transferred between the devices safe and secure.

This way criminals are unable to intercept the payment data.

As a physical security back-up, contactless cards will ask the user to pay by entering their PIN number after a certain amount of contactless payments to ensure it’s them using the card.

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Biometrics and digital wallets

The same NFC technology used in contactless cards is what is also used to authorise payments on digital wallets like Apple Pay.

Along with the NFC chips, these smart devices increase security even further by using biometric data like facial or fingerprint recognition.

If the device is unable to recognise the stored security information, the payment won’t go through.

How can digital payments be safer than cash?

This is the main issue businesses have when it comes to digital payments – but the fact is accepting cash brings with it significantly more risks than using card machines.

For one, there’s no audit trail of your cash payments.

If you accept a fraudulent note during the day – not out of the question when you’re busy – there’s no way to know where it came from.

There’s also no way to recover the transaction, so you’ve lost money.

With digital payments, transactions are only authorised once the customer’s bank indicates they have the funds available to cover the transaction – and there’s no way the transaction can be stopped.

In the event there is an issue, you have a complete audit trail of every card or digital wallet payment you’ve taken during the day – so you can easily identify problems and ensure you get paid.

Plus, there’s the risk of storing cash on premises, which can make you a target for criminals – especially if you’re busy and keeping large amounts on site.

With card and digital wallet payments, all the money is deposited into your Merchant Account and then your business account, so you don’t have to worry about storing large amounts of physical currency.

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Make payments faster and safer with a card machine

There are very few businesses operating without a card machine today and customers expect that they’ll be able to pay using the devices they want – whether that’s a contactless card or a digital wallet.

Trying to keep up with payment technology can seem difficult, but investing for the right technology can provide your business with a reliable, secure to take payments that will future proof your business for a long time to come.

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