Top 3 free merchant account security features

Search for free merchant account in your favorite search engine & most probably, the numbers will come up to more than just a million. In fact, Google alone has 41 million sites for those keywords & half of them are actual free merchant account providers.

If you're a small start up merchant, you might want to get a free merchant account - however with those numbers looming on your screens, how do you separate the ones that are effective from the ones that are just plain scams?

Free merchant account providers offer a lot of "freebies", hence the term free. It could either be a free terminal, free set up, or free application fees. Despite the dizzying amount of freebies, one has to stop & see what else they can offer to make merchants' businesses more productive & cost-effective - how about security tools?

Security measures used by free merchant account providers protects merchants from fraudulent transactions. Billions of dollars are lost every year to these ecommerce criminals, & more often than not, small merchants are the ones feeling the pinch.

How do merchant account providers secure online transactions? Here are the top 3 ways to secure on line transactions:

1. AVS (Address Verification Service)

This pretty nifty security measure is helpful to Internet merchants. For card-not-present transactions, customers are asked for their billing address & this is verified against the address on the file of the card issuer. In case they don't match, the merchant receives a response code & it's up to the merchant whether to continue or stop the transaction.

2. CVV2 (Card Security Number Confirmation)

Developed by Mastercard, CVV2 or Card Validation Code 2 is a three digit code you can see printed on the signature panel of MasterCard cards. Merchants can verify in real time whether the customer has an actual card in possession for card-not-present transactions. These codes are never stored by merchants, so customers are assured of their protection as well.

3. 3-D Secure Code

This XML (Extensible Markup Language) protocol was developed by Visa, & later on adopted by MasterCard. Each card has its own password & card-holders can only continue with the transactions if they provide the passwords for their cards. Free merchant account providers display proudly on their sites "Verified by Visa & MasterCard SecureCode", as a selling point to merchants.

Merchants can also reduce the risk of fraud with a few common-sense tips:

  • Call the customer to verify the order first before any shipping occurs. Fraudsters order numerous items that they can't keep track of what they purchased online or even remember the information they provided for the transaction.
  • Customers will develop a purchasing pattern over time; be on guard for sudden changes.
  • Take note of merchandise prone to fraud - priority shipments of these items is a tell-tale sign of fraud.
  • Receipts. Receipts. Receipts. Always keep them safely stored.

By making a conscious effort to secure transactions, & with the help of the security measures used by free merchant account providers, merchants can avoid fraud. When choosing a provider, don't just rely on what's free for the taking - make sure what you're getting is not only economical, but something to enhance productivity & revenue - & in the ecommerce market, security can make or break your business.
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