Payment fraud is on the rise in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Here are six ideas to improve your payment security.

Fraudulent business transactions are on the rise, and payment fraud in particular has become rampant in the wake of coronavirus. Payment fraud is defined as any fake or illegal transaction that steals sensitive information, funds, or other materials from a victim, and it was reported by a record 82 percent of organizations in 2018, according to the 2019 AFP Payments Fraud & Control Survey. This is an 11 percent increase from 2016 when 74 percent of organizations reported fraud. In light of this, its even more essential to do everything you can to safeguard your online transactions and increase your payment security.

There were 6 data breaches among banking, credit, and financial companies, and 100,000,000 records exposed in July 2019 alone. And, while it’s impossible to prevent large-scale fraud, there are measures you can take to improve payment security. These payment security measures are commonly used by major banks and small businesses alike to help prevent fraudulent activity. Follow these six simple best practices to ensure that your business transactions won’t be easy targets.

Avoid using public Wi-Fi

Mobile banking apps and online banking are convenient, but like with anything, it’s important to ensure you are being safe while using these resources. It’s crucial to safeguard all devices, especially when conducting business. Your best course of action is to have all your workers set up a VPN (virtual private network) on their smartphones and devices. Do this by downloading and installing a VPN from the app store, and your business transactions will have an extra layer of encryption. This ensures your information is safe from potential fraudsters. Some great VPNs are Free VPN, NordVPN, and ExpressVPN. 

Utilize bank alerts 

If you’re a small business owner, you need to keep tabs on your bank account. However, you might be so busy that you can’t log into your business banking account daily. By setting up text and email alerts, you can get instant notifications when transactions are made. From these alerts, you can immediately recognize if something is off with your account and report it to your bank.

Add two-step authentication

Two-step authentication makes it harder for hackers to get into your private networks and accounts. Like its name, the authentication system makes you enter two secure ways of logging in. These secure methods can include your password combined with any other secure authentication system, think fingerprints, a location authenticator, or potentially a PIN. Sure, it takes patience to wait for a text with a temporary code to log into your account, but you will be more secure taking advantage of two-step authentication. To set up two-step authentication, you can use apps such as Duo or Google Authenticator. Even if a username and password are compromised, when a second factor is required for login, that’s something the hacker won’t have.

Consider using a password manager

You hopefully already know not to use “password” or “1234” as your password, but even a few jumbled letters can be an easy crack for sophisticated hacking technology. And if you use the same password on multiple accounts or don’t change them periodically, you are vulnerable. That’s where a password manager can help. These services can flag weak and duplicate passwords, generate new ones, and usually sync across all of your devices. You’ll never have to remember a complex password again. Some password managers are free, while others might require a fee. Be sure to do some research on this topic on what is the best option for your business. Some popular free options are LastPass, Myki Password Manager & Authenticator, and Enpass Password Manager. 

Educate your employees

If you have employees who have access to your accounts, it’s a good idea to teach them about best practices and online security protocols. For starters, you want to remind all users to keep their devices updated with the latest secure version of operating systems, browsers, and software. It’s also smart to offer training on cybersecurity best practices, such as training on how to avoid malware. It’s also a good idea to send out employee alerts about any potential scams or cyber threats.

Leverage secure transfer methods

Forward-thinking businesses today use online payment options to send and receive funds, and among the most reliable are ACH (bank-to-bank transfers) and wire transfers. Both of these payment methods allow large sums to be transferred safely, and you don’t have to worry about them getting “lost in the mail.”

Talk to a Santander banker to learn more about how to keep your online business transactions secure and up your payment security..

Santander Bank does not make any claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in this article. Readers should consult their own attorneys or other tax advisors regarding any financial or tax strategies mentioned in this article. These materials are for informational purposes only and do not necessarily reflect the views or endorsement of Santander Bank.

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