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In 2018, almost 5,900 brick and mortar retail locations closed. 2019 has seen another 6,000 go the way of the dodo, and by 2026, as many as 75,000 stores will shut their doors permanently. The reality is, brick and mortar stores are expensive – far more expensive than their web-based eCommerce counterparts. As a result, physical retail locations often can’t match the prices offered by online competition. In cases where companies operate both online and brick and mortar stores, the majority of sales generally still occur in physical locations, but the gap is shrinking rapidly as people gravitate to the convenience of online shopping. And with services like Amazon Prime offering same-day free delivery, why wouldn’t they? Certainly, there are products – specifically high-end purchases – that will likely always require an in-person shopping experience. But for the average purchase – socks, video games, even groceries – why wouldn’t consumers embrace the convenience of shop at home, especially when the wait times for delivery are so low?
In part one of this two-part series, we looked at some of the technology-based solutions merchants have available to them to catch fraud early on and stop it before it can result in chargebacks and lost revenues. In part two, we’ll look at the other side of the coin – legitimate chargebacks filed by customers who feel like they’ve been wronged. These chargebacks can’t always be avoided, and sometimes all a merchant can hope for is a fast and easy resolution. But there are steps that merchants can take to minimize the number of legitimate chargeback requests they face, and they all revolve around understanding the customer-side of the equation and elevating the quality of service provided.
A seller receives an order and delivers on their end of the bargain flawlessly, only to later find that the money they earned has been clawed back due to a chargeback. This is an all too common scenario, especially in commerce online where purchases are made without any physical, real-world interaction between customer and merchant. It’s also a scenario that can be incredibly costly for merchants in more ways than just lost revenues. Large retailers can afford to dedicate staff to dispute resolutions, but for smaller merchants, chargebacks are often poorly understood, let alone effectively handled. But, with a little bit of knowledge and some careful planning, merchants both large and small can significantly reduce their need to handle them at all by taking the necessary steps to ensure they don’t happen in the first place. In this two-part series, we’ll examine the most effective ways merchants can do just that, using both the fraud prevention tools available to them and some customer service best practices.
Chargebacks are a reality of accepting credit card payments. While many chargebacks are requested for valid reasons, there are plenty of cases in which disputes are initiated despite the merchant holding up every aspect of their end of the bargain. Unfortunately, many merchants don’t really understand the dispute process, how to handle a chargeback, or the consequences that chargebacks represent to the health of their businesses. Those consequences can include unexpected drains on revenue, penalties levied by the card companies, and across-the-board rate increases.
For obvious reasons, the major credit card companies take fraud and excessive chargebacks very seriously, and companies like Visa and Mastercard have put forward thorough monitoring and tracking systems to try to prevent the losses associated with them. In October 2019, both companies made changes to their chargeback and fraud defense programs, and it’s important that merchants keep up on the details of those changes, as getting tied up in any of these programs can result in costly fines and burdensome assessments.
Part of establishing PCI compliance and maintaining it year in and year out is filling out an annual PCI self-assessment questionnaire (SAQ). These questionnaires are designed to accomplish two goals: to help businesses identify weaknesses that need to be dealt with and to help prove to institutions that a company is compliant. But not all companies handle credit cards in the same way, so PCI has put together nine different versions of the SAQ. The difference in length and complexity between the shortest and longest versions is extreme – 22 questions versus 329. As a result, it’s important that companies select the proper SAQ for self-assessments because choosing poorly could result in under-analysis, or alternately, a lot of unnecessary work. Below is a quick review of each SAQ version to help with proper selection.
E-commerce transactions are all about trust. Customers need to feel 100% confident that their personal information and payment details are stored and transmitted with total security, or they simply won’t make a purchase. When breaches do happen, the damage – both financially and psychologically – can be immense, and as a result, businesses simply can’t afford to ignore the seriousness of transaction security. Thankfully, there are some straightforward steps companies can take to keep the bad guys at bay, and the following six practices represent some of the most effective ones.
Let’s talk about PCI Compliance. In the summer of 2019, it came out that Capital One – a credit card issuer themselves – fell victim to a hack that exposed the data of 100 million cardholders and applicants. That might seem extreme, but it’s only the latest in a series of high-profile security breaches that have resulted in the theft of personal data. In 2018, Marriott discovered a years-long breach that exposed the data of 500 million customers. In 2014 a breach exposed the data of 56 million Home Depot customers, and a year before that, Target was hit with a hack that exposed 110 million customers. Other household names that have fallen victim to hacks in that time have included Yahoo, Adobe, eBay, Sony, and more.
Authorize.Net – the most popular payment gateway service provider in the world – is in the process of making a big change to how it verifies transactions, and that change impacts the business of every single one of their Direct Post users.
The company is phasing out MD5-based hashing and switching to SHA-512 signature key hashing. The last stage of the switch goes into effect on June 27th, 2019, and every business using Authorize.Net Direct Post, including BAMS users, will have to switch over before that date to avoid interruptions to their payment processing services.
To a lot of merchants, this might be a confusing topic or seem like an unnecessary hassle, but this change is an important step in keeping Authorize.Net’s transaction security on the cutting edge – something that benefits every single merchant on the platform.