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e-Commerce Industry News

September 8, 2014
Payment security a tricky subject for modern merchants
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September 8, 2014
Card security is pivotal to creating a good shopping experience. Card security is pivotal
to creating a good
shopping experience.
Flexibility is one of the key reasons many merchants are implementing an omnichannel retailing approach to serving their customers - they want to be available to customers regardless of wherever they currently are. Flexibility is important in other areas of online stores as well, such as payments. Merchants must offer customers a number of different ways to pay for their goods or else they may lose the sale to other retailers that do accept that payment type.

While many merchants are trying to make the payment process as convenient as possible - both by offering more payment types and making paying for goods a seamless process - there is another big problem they face in that regard: security. Over the past few years, many merchants have suffered breaches and data theft, ranging from small-time online stores to major retail players such as Target.

A recent Internet Retailer blog post made it clear why security is such a major threat to offline and online stores alike. The news source pointed to Target as an example. Target was compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards, worked with several companies to monitor suspicious activity and leveraged the latest security systems to protect customer data. However, at the end of the day, all that still was not enough to prevent more than 70 million names and addresses from being stolen, on top of the theft of 40 million credit and debit card numbers.

Data theft is a huge problem, not only because of the fines and lawsuits retailers will face as a result of breaches, but also because of the hit to the merchant's credibility and the effect it will have on the bottom line.

"Prior to the breach, the retailer was having a good fourth quarter," Internet Retailer added. "But immediately after its Dec. 15 statement alerting consumers to the breach, sales turned south and the merchant has yet to recover. In addition to the lost sales, breach-related expenses cost Target $236 million in the first half of its fiscal year and led to the departures of CEO Gregg Steinhafel and chief information officer and executive vice president for technology services Beth Jacob."

Payments are an important part of running a successful online store and it is crucial that merchants make the safety of this sensitive data a top priority going forward.