A payment gateway is an essential element of online payment ecosystem. It allows businesses and consumers to carry out online payment transactions. While online merchants are not expected to have expert knowledge of payment gateway systems, it is still helpful to know about their mechanism so as to provide the best possible services to your clients. One of the most important aspects about a payment gateway is that it collects vital information about a business and its clients. It is important that the safety and security of such data is ensured. Following are some of the critical pointers about data handling by payment gateways.
PCI DSS Compliance: A payment gateway does not store the data in its original form. In order to provide the most secure form, the payment gateway should be PCI DSS compliant, which is the current gold standard when it comes to the security of data. The PCI Security Standards Council is a global organization which carries out the task of setting compliance rules with regard to the treatment of user data obtained during the online payment process. The current rules require the data to be encrypted for eliminating the risk of data interception. This implies that payment gateway never stores critical information such as CVV, password or pin. The information related to name, card details and address is only used for completing the transaction and is not stored.
Tokenization: Payment gateways also carry out tokenization of critical information. This implies that when you key in your card number, it is automatically converted into a single token. This token consists of a unique set of characters which replace the original card number. Using such tokenization, the payment may be processed without revealing sensitive details. As these token numbers are generated and assigned randomly, it is highly improbable that the original numbers may be retrieved by carrying out reverse engineering. There are different types of tokenization processes around, the main ones being format preserving and non-format preserving. Generally, non-format preserving tokenization is considered to be the safer option.
SSL Certification: As important as the PCI DSS compliance is, it is equally important to ensure that the websites are also securely configured. The payment gateways generally use SSL certification which secures the data using TLS encryption. Such certification may be verified by looking at the URL in the browser. If the website bears https:// protocol then it means that it is secure. This is especially important for ecommerce companies and websites so as to make sure that the integrity of consumer data is maintained.
Fraud Screening Tools: Most of the payment gateways offer you fraud screening tools which may help you in reducing the risk of payment frauds. Some of the most prominent tools used for this purpose are Address Verification Service, Card Verification Value and Card Code Value. With the use of these tools, the risk of online payment frauds may be curtailed to a large extent. A payment gateway endeavors to provide a secure channel between a business and its customers for enabling online transactions. It is important that proper measures are taken by such payment gateways to ensure the safety of critical data of all the parties involved.
Additional Measures: Websites may also use additional tools such as the use of the hash function for making the transactions more secure. Under this function, a signed request from the merchant is required for validating the transaction. Such signed request is a code and is known to only the payment gateway and the merchant. For further security of the transaction and the data, the IP of the requesting server is also authenticated, so as to filter out any malicious activity. Some payment gateways also use Virtual Payer Authentication (VPA), which is a 3D secure protocol. This step adds an extra layer of security, enabling online clients to authenticate each other, and thus adds to security measures.
Overall, several new tools and methods have evolved to increase the security factor of online transactions. While selecting a payment gateway, a business should take proper cognizance of the security measures taken for maintaining the secrecy of critical information pertaining to the business and its clients.