How to Mitigate Cybersecurity Threats to Payment Systems

Mitigate Cybersecurity Threats

Whether you are talking about online credit card and debit card transactions or direct debit protocol for customers and vendors, there are plenty of risks that go along with conducting financial transactions online. People have their credit card information stolen all the time, and shoddy cybersecurity on the part of the online business owner is often to blame. With that in mind, below are some of the most important steps you can take to ensure your payments systems remain safe to use. 

Rigorous Credit Card Validation

You would assume that validating the number, expiration date, and CVV of customer credit cards is common sense, but validation requires much more. In addition to those three areas of validation, another important step is to use the Address Verification System (AVS).

Depending on which payment gateway (PayPal,, Stripe, etc.) and eCommerce platform (Magento, WooCommerce, etc.) you use, the validation fields might be configured differently. Even so, incorporating these validation fields into your payment processing is simple enough.

Monitor Behaviour 

Credit card testing isn’t a one-shot deal for a thief; it takes several efforts to verify a card number. Examine your site’s transaction and visitor history to identify suspicious people. Pay great attention to the following warning signs. These include things like multiple transactions that have failed from the same IP address and the same IP address trying to make multiple purchases using various credit card numbers.

Another common sign of fraud is if there is all of a sudden a large increase in the sale of low-cost items. This last point indicates that someone is testing a card number with a low-cost item in the hopes of later utilising it for larger purchases or boosting the value of the number for other hackers to buy and use. If you notice something like this, it’s a good idea to flag that credit card and not process any transactions with it.

Think Hard About Guest Checkout Options 

If you want to use this function for your online business, understand the benefits and drawbacks beforehand. The benefits generally boil down to streamlining the purchase process in order to increase sales. This is ideal for clients who don’t want to create an account in order to purchase things. People simply don’t have the time or the inclination to go through a registration process these days. An additional consideration to keep in mind is that customers have become a great deal more protective of their personal information and suspicious of or resentful towards companies that ask for it. 

Significant security concerns are among the disadvantages. A thief could utilise guest checkout to test a stolen credit card (by purchasing minor ticket items to validate the card’s potential) with very little information to link them to the transaction. If you opt to enable guest checkout, make sure to authenticate the name and address in addition to the card number and expiration date. The laxness of guest checkout means it is on you as the business owner to do more due diligence. 

Session Limits 

Have you ever noticed how when you are in the middle of a checkout process on a website, and you leave for an extended period of time to do something else–answer a phone call, take the dog for a walk, check on dinner–the process has been cancelled when you sit back down at your computer or phone? It happens very often, for instance, when you are booking a flight online. The reason this happens is that the website has set it up to be like this way. The longer a session is open, especially one where you are entering in personal information and sensitive financial data, the more opportunities there are for cybercriminals to intercept the data or hack the process. 

In addition, or as an alternative to a session time out, you can also consider using reauthentication prompts. These are when a user is required to reenter their login information in order to get back into a session. Doing this helps limit the amount of damage that hackers are able to do. 

Don’t Store Credit Card Info Unless it is a Legal Necessity 

While it is not unlawful for businesses to keep credit card information on file, various watchdog groups and government authorities advise against it to avert data breaches. If you don’t need the information for regulatory reasons, your best bet is to not store it. 

If you really care about your customers, you can also inform them of the dangers of things like saving their credit card information in a payment gateway. 


One of the most important things you can do as an online business owner is to secure your website and payment system. If you get a reputation for compromising people’s credit card information or lax cybersecurity, it will eventually hurt your sales. While no security system is perfect, the above recommendations go a long way to inspiring trust in your customers and, ultimately, ensuring you are able to do business online. 

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