Five security tips for digital payments
As consumers, most of us prefer to use digital, card-based, or online payments for our retail purchases because of the convenience and security they offer. Using checks for everyday transactions is just no longer the norm. There’s no reason this should be any different for law firm clients. Customers assume and expect to be able to pay for professional services using the same payment methods they use for retail transactions. With that, digital payments have become a business necessity for law firms and independent attorneys alike.
As mentioned in one of our previous articles, the ability to allow customers to pay with credit cards or pay online not only helps you better manage accounts receivable processes, but it also helps you get paid faster. Efficiency and increased cash flow are the main drivers for implementing new age payment systems in your law firm. However, the rules and regulations that apply to other companies around the security of payments and customer data get even stricter when it comes to the legal industry. With this in mind, let’s take a look at the five most important tips for securely supporting digital payments in your legal transaction.
Different rules and regulations apply to law firms operating under different jurisdictions. When making payments, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) must generally be observed. A third-party service may be hired to check your PCI compliance. To ensure PCI compliance, procedures must be put in place to protect files containing sensitive information. In Europe, you need to ensure that your payment service provider complies with the GDPR requirements according to this infographic.
Online system security
When building an integrated online system that accepts payments on behalf of your company, you need to ensure that the system is hosted in a secure environment. Small businesses often tend to overlook the security aspect because they think they are not being attacked, but small hackers are more likely to attack them for the same reason. Make sure that the hosting provider for the system has the correct practices and security precautions in place. Also, make sure that the site is protected by Secure Socket Layer (SSL) to encrypt communications between the system and external parties.
In order to fully anchor the culture of digital payments in your company or organization, it is necessary to train all employees, especially those who are responsible for payment processing, about the necessary security measures. Simple steps like password-protected devices, secure and updated software, using VPNs, securing USBs and other storage media in the workplace, etc. can go a long way in protecting customer data.
Two-factor authentication is the recommended best practice that should be used by both parties when making payments. This protects against data loss and fraudulent transactions due to identity theft. Customers need to secure their online and mobile payment transactions with two-factor authentication. Online systems that accept payment must ensure that the data required for two-factor authentication is collected and verified for each new customer in the form of mobile phone numbers, email IDs or biometric information depending on the payment method.
When it comes to payments, there is no real need to store customer account information or card data over the long term. The best way to protect customer data is not to store it when it is not needed. In situations where they need to be stored, they should be encrypted and stored on a private network with restricted access for authorized personnel. A trustworthy third party payment partner can be commissioned to ensure the collection and transfer of payments as well as the storage of the required payment data.
It is certainly an advantage for any customer-oriented company to think of the customer’s needs first. Digital payments in all their forms, be they contactless cards or online payments, offer customers a convenient alternative to transacting with the company. The responsibility for ensuring the security of the payment system implementation is in the business. Therefore, it is recommended that you use the industry best practices listed above when implementing the latest digital payments technology in your company.