Three ways to improve your business’ security


With the 2016 summer season rapidly approaching, it’s crucial to ensure your business is secure. We’ve put together a simple guide to help you put more secure processes in place and safeguard sensitive information.

Step One: Become compliant with PCI


While some merchants may consider the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) little more than an annual check-up, the standard was designed to be an ongoing process.  PCI DSS, more commonly referred to as just PCI, was established to improve cardholder data security and establish a consistent, global standard. Everyone who handles cardholder information, including merchants, processors, issuers, and service providers, must be compliant with PCI.

By following the three-step process of assess, remediate, and report built into PCI, you can greatly improve your business’ everyday security. The official PCI website lists the three steps as:

  • Identifying cardholder data, taking an inventory of IT assets and business processes for payment card processing, and analyzing them for vulnerabilities.
  • Fixing vulnerabilities and eliminating the storage of cardholder data unless absolutely necessary.
  • Compiling and submitting required reports to the appropriate acquiring bank and card brands.

In addition to being faced with monthly non-compliance fees, not being PCI compliant puts your business at greater risk of falling victim to data theft or security breaches. If a breach occurs while you are not compliant, your business could face fines that can exceed $250,000.

For more information about PCI compliance, visit AMG’s official PCI resource.

If you are a merchant with AMG and would like to check your PCI compliance status, please call us at 877-997-9473 or send us an email.


Step Two: Upgrade your credit card terminals to EMV


As of October 1, 2015, all US merchants processing retail transactions must have an EMV-compatible terminal. Not having the ability to process EMV transactions places your business in jeopardy of becoming victims of payment fraud, in addition to losing certain chargeback and dispute protections.

EMV essentially refers to the technology behind the microchip found in most new credit cards. Unlike a magnetic stripe or “swipe” transaction, an EMV transaction requires the customer to insert the payment card into a slot located at the front of a special terminal designed to accept chip cards. The customer will then have to sign a receipt or input a PIN to complete the transaction.

Upgrading to an EMV terminal doesn’t have to be overly expensive or time-consuming. It also affords some peace of mind to know that your transactions and your customers’ information are now much more secure.

If you are interested in learning more about EMV, visit our official AMG EMV page.

To upgrade to EMV today, please call us at 877-997-9473 or send us an email.


Step Three: Protect your merchant account


 Not all threats to your business come in the form of hackers and identity thieves. You may receive a call or visit from someone claiming to be a representative of “your merchant services company” and/or Visa or MasterCard. While they may not directly state they work for Advanced Merchant Group, they may also not dissuade you from believing they are representing us.

In most cases, these individuals will attempt to persuade you to fill out new forms under the guise of “updating information” or “ensuring your business is compliant.” However, their true intention is to switch your merchant account to a different company or service provider without your knowledge.

While these individuals may use high-pressure sales tactics to attempt to coerce you to sign costly contracts or purchase exorbitantly-priced credit card terminals, remember that you do not have to sign or agree to anything immediately. Dismiss the sales person (or disconnect the call) and contact your merchant services company directly.

If you process through Advanced Merchant Group, here is our support and contact information.

For more information about protecting your merchant account, read our articles regarding credit card slamming and the true cost of a “free” credit card terminal.