Making money is one thing. Protecting your organization—and the assets of your customers—from costly theft is another. Security considerations are becoming more important every year and your customers expect you to be on top of things. “The Federal Trade Commission reports that the No. 1 consumer concern is the theft of their identity,” says Hearon. “There is a phenomenal rise in identity theft, and it is going on not just on websites, but also behind the counter with skimming.” The regulatory authorities have responded to consumer concerns by mandating compliance with PCI regulations. “Find out where your ISO is in terms of PCI compliance,” says Hearon. “Will you, as the retailer, be penalized for not complying?” Only about 15% to 20% of smaller retailers are PCI compliant right now, according to Hearon. Noncompliant retailers can pay as much as $20 monthly in penalties. Hearon estimates that as high as 75% of the data breaches are occurring at small- and medium-size businesses, which usually have less security protection than large retailers. The retailer that does get breached can expect a costly repair process. “The resulting costs for forensics audits, card-replacement costs, assessments and fines can typically range from $40,000 to $80,000,” says Hearon. “That has put some retailers out of business. So you need Breach Data Coverage, similar to business liability insurance, and that can be provided through your ISO. The cost typically ranges from $5.95 to $9.95 per month.”
Customer-data protection is the final piece of the merchant-account puzzle. Every retailer needs to create a credit card acceptance structure that generates profits while reducing risk. Thanks to a more competitive marketplace, ISOs are making it easier than ever to find a realistic balance between profitability and safety.
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