Credit Card Processing Best Practices During COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in a new era in how we live, work, and play. Along with these shifts have come significant changes in how consumers pay for the necessities of life and the activities they love.

To best serve their clientele, businesses must be able to adapt to a new set of credit card processing best practices that ensure their customers’ health and money remain safe — long after the pandemic is over.

Here is a look at credit card processing best practices businesses big and small should work toward so they’re prepared for this new world of payments.

Go Contactless as Fast as Possible
The pandemic has been a major catalyst for the wider adoption of contactless payment around the globe. And it should come as no surprise. Credit-card giant Mastercard, for example, saw a 40% increase in contactless payments — including tap-to-pay and mobile pay — during the first quarter of 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic began to worsen. These contactless methods include contactless cards and e-wallets, such as Google Pay, Apple Pay, Venmo, and Masterpass.

Implement a Virtual Terminal
More and more, digital payments and in-person payments are being integrated to create an omnichannel experience, and businesses need to be ready to deliver no matter the method or channel that customers want to purchase their goods and pay for their services.

If your company accepts credit cards over the phone or via mail, implementing a virtual terminal for credit card processing may be worth the effort. Virtual terminals feature payment gateway technology that allows payment processing systems to get approval on credit card purchases even with the card isn’t present. The terminal can operate via desktop computer, app, tablet, or smartphone. Virtual terminals can connect to e-commerce platforms and order management systems and often can send email confirmations or invoices and recurring billing.

Get Ready for the Volume
As we’ve already seen, the pandemic has increased the number of cashless purchases consumers are making — and that trend is expected to continue. For businesses, this means ensuring you have a fair and good per transaction rate, so you’re not losing money in the long run.

Get Ready for the Fraud
Also, on the rise during the pandemic? Fraud. According to the LexisNexis Risk Solutions Cybercrime Report, automated bot attacks were up 13% in the first half of 2020, while browser-based attacks were also rising. Schemes have involved stimulus checks, contact tracing, door-to-door workers, and charitable giving scams. Fraudsters are playing on the unemployed, the online shoppers, and the over-the-phone buyer. They’re even using COVID tests to lure in unsuspecting victims. It is not more important than ever that businesses prepare for these fraud attempts to continue and protect their customers more than ever.

Sanitize Well and Sanitize Often
Since the pandemic began, we have been reminded repeatedly about the importance of sanitizing our hands and our surfaces. This includes our credit card machines and payment processing centers. Even when the pandemic ends, keeping these frequently used devices will be an essential part of customer service.

Get Ready for the Post-COVID World
The good news is, the U.S. payments industry has remained strong and even grown amidst the pandemic. As the pandemic continues and even after we recover, however, the question consumers (and watchdogs) will be asking is, “Is your business really prepared to take care of your customers and their credit cards?”

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