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How to Protect Your Agency When Accepting Digital Payments

Accepting digital payments can help improve the customer experience but comes with numerous cybersecurity challenges. Here's an overview of the benefits and risks.
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how to protect your agency when accepting digital payments

Digital payment methods became more popular during the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, mobile wallet adoption in the U.S. jumped from 38% before COVID-19 to 55% by October 2020.

Digital payments are considered more convenient and secure for most consumers. They can also be less risky than when someone uses cash or a physical card because there are security measures that are unavailable with traditional payment methods. In addition, because digital wallets are contactless, they also represented less health risk during the pandemic.

Accepting digital payments can help improve the customer experience. However, in this era of constantly evolving technologies, there are numerous cybersecurity challenges to weigh against the benefit. 

The Benefits and Risks of Digital Payments

Digital payments simplify the payment process by enabling consumers to complete transactions without using cash. To protect financial account information and passwords, digital payment processors must adhere to payment card industry data security standard (PCI DSS) protocol, the global standard for digital security when it comes to payments.

Virtualization techniques and advanced encryption are also used to ensure everyone's financial data stays solely on their actual device. These days, digital payments are safer and easier to implement due to new low-code or no-code user interfaces and generally have fewer fees.

This does not mean users will be free of criminals targeting them. Digital payment method users must continue to be wary and only participate in purchase or fund transfer transactions if they initiated it.

How To Stay Safe

Here are some things you can do to protect your agency and your customers, as well as some basic suggestions you can provide to your customers that will go a long way toward protecting their sensitive data:

1) Assess your most valuable digital assets. The first step to take is to identify the high-value targets of cybercriminals. Whether they're intangible, such as your networks and data, or physical, such as workstations, you'll need to identify what assets criminals will want to target and the level of risk exposure to your organization should they be breached.

2) Identify the cyber risks, past and present. After identifying those assets, the next step is to determine every potential threat that could affect those assets.

3) Plan for an attack. What is your company's planned response to an attack? A great way to mitigate risk is having strategically planned-out responses in place. Improvising as attacks happen can lead to mistakes that compound the issue. A data breach can cost a great deal and planning ahead can mitigate the fallout.

4) A culture of cybersecurity must be cultivated in your company. Everyone must be vigilant with their security. Training and cyber best practices will go a long way to maintaining the safety of your company's assets from the more pernicious tactics, like phishing or related social engineering-related apertures. Customers should avoid answering unsolicited emails or text messages asking for payment.

5) Activate every security feature. This includes screen locks or biometric locks to keep hackers from stealing login credentials or money. Use a strong password and good cybersecurity practices on all accounts to reduce the risk of hacking.

While businesses have continuously faced various types of risk, cyber risk is the biggest threat to companies, the data they keep, and, ultimately, their success.

Todd Greenbaum, President & CEO at Input 1. Input 1 is the insurance industry's leading provider of digital billing services and payment solutions.

Friday, February 25, 2022