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6 Tips to Protect from Credit Card Fraud this Holiday Season


23.11.2021 Security

6 Tips to Protect from Credit Card Fraud this Holiday Season

It pays to stay vigilant with a few simple precautions.

As a business owner, securing your assets, stock and premises is a critical part of your everyday. Not only does it give you valuable peace of mind, but it ensures you’re always prepared for the unpredictable and that unforeseen events have minimal impact on your operations. However, something a number of Australian businesses fall victim to every year is credit card fraud — and, while big businesses have the budget for high-scale fraud detection systems, small businesses do not. Fortunately, there are a few simple steps you can take to protect your business.

Shoppers are out in full force, reaping the benefits of the holiday sales and handing their credit card details over to countless merchants. When it comes to protecting your business from credit card fraud this holiday season, planning is key. Here are some small changes you can make to protect your business from the risk of fraud.

Accept EMV chip cards

As far as chip-based debit and credit card transactions go, EMV is the global standard. It brings greater security and global interoperability to card and mobile payments through its sophisticated chip. Essentially, a fully-operating computer system is embedded in every EMV card — ensuring it’s tamper-proof and nearly impossible to clone (unlike magstripe technology, which was invented more than 60 years ago and has become very easy to duplicate).

The slow adoption of EMV in the United States goes some way to explain why the country has such a high rate of credit card fraud. On the other hand, the United Kingdom has experienced an enormous drop in counterfeit fraud since it adopted the new cards in 2005 — like almost every other country that has introduced EMC. 

In an effort to fight fraud, keep your business safe and avoid liability, accepting EMV chip cards is a sizeable first step. Encourage your customers to pay via EMC chip cards and let them know the breadth of payment methods you accept by placing your Zeller table tent on the front counter, and stickers on your front window. If you wish to make this information even more visible, the Zeller Card Payment Marketing Kit can be ordered from Zeller Shop. 

Train staff on how to take MOTO payments safely

Another significant step towards minimising credit card fraud is educating your staff on all the protocols that can fight it. One of the payments methods most susceptible to fraud is MOTO Payments: orders processed over the phone, email or internet. In each of these transactions, a card is physically present at the point of sale.

It’s critical that your staff know how to securely transact in these instances. That means knowing what to look out for (like unusual quantities and third party payment requests) and asking for verification of identity (such as a driver’s licence, or a signature).

For everything you need to know about making secure card-not-present payments, read our post about securely transacting over the phone

Minimise the risk of chargebacks

Chargebacks are, in theory, there to protect the customer against fraudulent or dishonest behaviour. However, not all chargebacks are genuine. That being said, each chargeback can put a dent in your profits. As we enter the festive season, where the number of transactions being made each day is at an all-time high, understanding why chargebacks happen can help you minimise the instance and impact of them, as well as protect against fraud.

Not allowing customers to enter their credit card details manually, for example, will help keep your business safe. If you allow customers to enter their details manually, you’d have little to prove it was really the cardholder that made the transaction. Similarly, making sure your product descriptions are accurate, your returns policy is clear and simple, and your shipping methods are reliable will also help to minimise chargebacks. 

Create a dedicated fraud protection procedure 

To effectively manage credit card fraud, implement your own payment procedure and train all staff to follow it. This will help ensure all employees are able to habitually protect against suspicious behaviour.

At a base level, your policy should include:

  • checking your customer’s identity with every face-to-face purchase (if the name does not match, whether the transaction goes ahead or not is up to your discretion).
  • checking the credit card for obvious tampering or damage, as this could indicate the card is stolen.
  • reviewing the receipt against the card for discrepancies in name, card number and signature.

Keep up to date with scams

Christmas is prime time for scammers and, with creative new scams being developed every day, it’s important to keep up to date with what’s going around — especially because not all scams are as obvious as others. 

Familiarise yourself with the different types of scams so your staff are better prepared. Plus, some banks list the latest security threats on their websites — you should check these regularly. Similarly, monitor your inbox for suspicious emails that ask you to open attachments, provide personal details or click a link. To help out other business owners, make sure you report any scams you encounter to Scamwatch.

Keep your Zeller Mastercard close

Every business using Zeller Terminal will receive a free Zeller Mastercard in their kit. Merchants can also order an additional business card for business partners or staff, should they need to make independent purchases. You’ll then be able to view all of these purchases via your dedicated Zeller Dashboard as they happen.

In the event that your Zeller Mastercard is stolen or compromised, real-time transaction visibility allows you to swiftly identify suspicious behaviour and immediately lock your card from Zeller Dashboard. You should, of course, contact Zeller Customer Success as soon as possible. 

To prevent credit card fraud happening to you, ensure you keep your pin secret, unique and free from common number combinations such as:

  • consecutive numbers i.e. 1,2,3,4
  • birthdays
  • myGov numbers
  • licence numbers
  • personal telephone numbers
  • car registration numbers
  • your name
  • family members’ names

Unfortunately, as technology evolves, so do fraudulent tactics. Criminals are more equipped than ever with the tools and equipment to hoodwink innocent consumers and businesses, which means merchants need to keep abreast of developments. Most importantly, you should continue to educate yourself on credit card fraud so as to best protect your business. That way, you can reap the rewards of a bountiful shopping season, putting you in good stead for the year ahead.

Need more information? Our Customer Success team can help with any questions about accepting secure payments. Read more about how Zeller keeps your business safe here.