Purchasing products and services with a credit card is incredibly common in the U.S. In fact, according to a 2017 study published by the Federal Reserve, total card payments (measured in number of transactions) grew from 103.5 billion in 2015 to 111.1 billion in 2016, an increase of 7.6 billion transactions.

As credit card processing becomes more accessible and companies shift to online sales, some small businesses are transitioning from cash-only establishments to ones that accept credit cards. If your small business accepts credit cards, here are three ways you can protect yourself from in-person credit card fraud.

1) Watch for unusual customer behavior.

If you accept credit cards in-person, observe the behavior of your customers. Look for consumers who:

  • Are nervous or rushed to complete the transaction.
  • Look at the signature on the back of the credit card while they sign the receipt.
  • Purchase an unusual quantity of expensive items.

These behaviors aren’t always indicators of credit card fraud, but they are common warning signs. If a customer seems suspicious, trust your instincts.

2) Ask to see an ID.

If something seems off, one of the easiest ways to minimize in-person credit card fraud is to ask to see an ID like a driver’s license. This lets you compare the name on the ID to the name on the credit card. It also gives you the opportunity to compare the signature on the ID to the signature on the credit card. Most consumers won’t think twice if you politely ask, “May I see your ID?” The customer’s response, including their nonverbal communication, may give you additional insight.

3) Follow Payment Card Industry (PCI) security standards.

According to the Security Standards Council, “The best way to maximize security of cardholder data is to continuously monitor and enforce the use of controls specified in the PCI Data Security Standard (DSS).” PCI standards instruct how to securely accept, transmit, and store cardholder data. One PCI DSS standard is to use and regularly update anti-virus software. Another simple requirement is to use strong passwords.

There are a lot of benefits to offering credit card processing options to your customers. At the same time, you want to protect your small business from credit card fraud. Study the warning signs, ask to see an ID if you feel suspicious, and always ensure that you PCI compliant.

Electronic Merchant Systems is a leading provider of payment processing & merchant services. For more information please visit our website.