When a customer chooses to use a credit card with your company, you can process it one of two ways. The first is to swipe it through your payment processing terminal. The second, though, is to have you process the card without the swipe. This tends to happen with phone and online orders, but it is possible to key in a card entry in a traditional brick and mortar setting. When you key those credit cards in without swipes, you’ve processed credit card not present, or CNP, transactions. They’re more common than you think today, but in the world of credit card processing, they can actually cost you quite a bit more than you expect.
What are Card Not Present Transactions?
A better definition of card not present transactions is any time a seller doesn’t have to physically use the card to process the transaction. If, for example, a person could simply recite the pertinent numbers from the card to complete the transaction, you’re completing a CNP sale, and it could really change your overall fees.
Why Does It Matter If the Card Is Swiped?
Card not present transactions change the entire processing equation for one simple reason – they involve a much higher risk of fraud. Any time you’re taking an over-the-phone order, a mail order, or even an online order, there’s a chance the cardholder didn’t authorize that move. That means that there’s a possibility that the transaction may fail at some point during the process.
In any type of pricing module, whether you’re looking at interchange-plus pricing or something completely different, you’re going to pay added costs because the processor doesn’t want to deal with the potential risk of a CNP transaction. In some cases, even when you don’t see those interchange costs directly, you’re paying for them in a marked-up base rate because the processor has to accept some of the risks.
Keep in mind, though, that not all CNP transactions will mean the same risks for your company. Online transactions, for example, have built-in security measures. Often, they ask for address or CVV verification. Keyed-in entries, on the other hand, don’t have those added layers of security, and that can mean even higher rates you may end up paying.
Preventing CNP Fraud
If fraud occurs during a CNP transaction, you could end up bearing the brunt of the costs. A 2010 LexisNexis study found that merchants tend to lose about $310 for every $100 of credit card fraud. Preventing fraud, then, can help your company save quite a bit of money in the long run. These tips may help.
- Minimize CNP Sales: If possible, make sure you’re processing card present transactions. If you have a choice between the two options, have your customers swipe their cards through an actual terminal.
- Increase Online Security: Make sure you’re gathering as much information as possible when you process online sales. Ensure you have the cardholder’s name as it actually appears on the card. Get the expiration date, the billing address, and the card’s CVV or security code too. If you have a way to store information about when an order was placed and other details about the order, you should do that as well.
- Ensure PCI-DSS Compliance: If you take phone orders, make certain your company is PCI DSS compliant when you handle a customer’s confidential data. Additionally, you should keep copies of all the information provided by customers until the customer has received his or her order and the transaction is complete. Most companies keep this information on file for twelve to twenty-four months.
The Complexities of Credit Card Processing
Processing cards, whether you have customers swiping them or you’re dealing with card not present transactions, can be complex, but the reality is that the more you know about how to safely process a customer’s card, the less likely you are to be the victim of fraud of any type. What’s more is that you could be saving hundreds in credit card fees with just a bit of added knowledge.
To learn more about how we can save you money with every single CNP transaction, contact Y2Payment Systems today.