By Greg Smith
President and CEO of Accudata Technologies
In this day in age, small businesses and retailers can no longer ignore the demands of mobile commerce (m-commerce). In fact, U.S. consumers will make $18.2 billion in purchases on their smartphones this year, according to research firm eMarketer Inc. That number is up 143% from $7.5 billion in 2011, making m-commerce a highly valuable platform for purchasing items.
If small businesses want to reach their customers where they’re shopping, it means optimizing their e-commerce website for mobile or creating a mobile app available for smartphone and tablet users. However, one major problem occurs with m-commerce that needs to be addressed — security. According to World Pay in their Global Online Shopper report, 40 percent of mobile shoppers are concerned about the security of their payments.
To ensure your transactions through m-commerce are safe and protected from potential identity theft and fraud, follow these five easy steps to not only safeguard your businesses, but also your customers.
Your Business and M-Commerce
Choose a secure platform. Choose a secure m-commerce platform through either an e-commerce website that’s optimized for mobile or by creating a mobile app for customers to purchase items. On e-commerce sites, it’s important to use SSL certificates to authenticate the identity of your business and encrypt the data in transit. To properly safeguard your mobile app, work with app developers who can properly encrypt data and write codes that are designed for security defenses.
Use a third party that verifies customers’ identities. Having technology in place that verifies customers’ real identities during the checkout process on the m-commerce website or through a mobile app is an added step to help avoid fraud. Verification services, such as Accudata Technologies, can help with this by validating a customer’s identity through their phone number. Once a customer enters their phone number in an online or in-app form, it is run through a database to access information about them, such as their name and residential address. In a matter of seconds, it checks to see if they match helping small business to be proactive and prevent unnecessary fees and fraud.
Don’t store sensitive data. There’s no reason to store thousands of records of your customers in databases, especially credit card numbers, expiration dates and CW2 codes. Purge old records from your database, keeping the minimal amount of data for charge-backs and refunds. Often times, businesses will save all of these details to make it more convenient for the customer during the checkout process; however, this stored information becomes more vulnerable to being stolen. In most cases, the high risk of breach through m-commerce outweighs the convenience factor for customers at checkout.
Require logins and strong passwords. While it’s the responsibility of the retailer to keep customer information safe on the back-end, help customers help themselves on the front-end. First, require the customer to create a login before purchasing an item. Next, require the login password to have a minimum number of characters and the use of symbols or numbers. Longer, more complex logins will make it harder for criminals to breach your site or app from the front-end
Set up system alerts for suspicious activity. Be on the lookout for suspicious m-commerce activity. Set an alert notice for multiple orders placed by the same person using different credit cards, phone numbers that are from different areas than the billing address, and orders where the recipient name is different than the card holder name. When an alert occurs, be sure to reach out to the registered customer to verify the purchase information. If fraud or any type of m-commerce cybercrime is highly suspected, take necessary steps in prohibiting the customer from making the purchase and contact appropriate law enforcement to report the suspicious activity.
About the Author
Greg Smith is president and CEO of Accudata Technologies. Multi-award winning Accudata Technologies provides flexible access to data validation through innovative approaches to data transmission. For more information, visit: www.accudatatech.com.