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Published: Fri, June 24, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Payment Protection Investment Increases Following Consumer Fears

Payment Protection Investment Increases Following Consumer Fears

The news that Apple Pay will soon become a viable online payment option has certainly got tech experts thinking about the added security this will bring to the industry in the coming years.

However, until systems such as Apple Pay are commonplace online, the protection of card data during Internet transactions is still a concern for many consumers. In fact, according to a study by banking service Pockit, 40% of people (from 1,000 consumers surveyed) believe they have been a victim of attempted fraud online.

Whether based on real experiences or a perceived threat, a large number of people now believe their credit or debit card has been targeted by cyber criminals. Moreover, according to Pockit's research, 38% of consumers "fear" for their safety when using their cards online. With ecommerce now a thriving industry boasting an estimated 12 million stores online (according to LemonStand), payment protection is obviously an important topic.

40% of Consumers Worried About Online Payments

" Security Key - Cyber Security " ( CC BY-SA 2.0 ) by  perspec_photo88

Yes, while it's possible to say that Apple Pay and its contemporaries will offer a new, more secure way to pay, simply because they don't transfer any card data, the reality is that most consumers are still worried about the current set-up.

Fortunately, the industry has reacted to these fears by upping its investment in online payment security. As outlined by Juniper Research, ecommerce merchants and financial institutions will pump $9.2 billion into payment security by 2020. This is a 30% increase on the current level of spending and the main reason appears to be a wave of fear among consumers.

As any reputable website owner will know, payment protection is hugely important and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) should be seen as the gold standard for any merchant. Although not mandatory, security service providers like Incapsula recommend a variety of methods to ensure PCI certification standards are met at all times.

Size Doesn't Matter When it Comes to Payment Protection

" Wallet and Credit Cards " ( CC BY-SA 2.0 ) by  401(K) 2013  

Depending on the number of transactions a website handle each year, the level of PCI DSS Compliance will change from 4 (under 20,000 transactions per annum) to 1 (6 million+ transactions per annum). While each level will have its own nuances in terms of guidelines, the fundamentals of securing a payment platform are always the same.

Encrypting data transmission, using anti-virus software and installing PCI-certified web application firewalls (WAF) is critical if you're a small, medium or even large business. Following these steps will not only ensure a customer's card data is protected, but it will help a website meet the PCI DSS requirements as outlined by the likes of Visa, MasterCard and American Express.

In the past there has certainly been a lack of vigilance with regards to payment protection; especially among small business owners. However, with the cost of a stolen financial record costing an average of $201 (according to Ponemon), many companies are now investing more time and money to ensure their platforms are protected from XSS, SQL injections and more.

While it may take some time for consumers to understand the improvements being made by both security providers and online merchants, the industry is certainly moving in the right direction. In fact, once Apple Pay and services like it become the norm, the ecosystem should become even safer as we move towards the close of the decade.

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