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Accepting payment cards in your business – What you need to know in advance

To accept payment cards (credit cards, debit cards, charge cards, etc.) in your shop or retail outlet you need in the first instance to set up a merchant agreement with a relevant bank or card processor. All such institutions operating in Ireland are members of IPSO Card Services and they can provide you with information on accepting cards as safely as possible and will have terms and conditions in place which are specific to your business.

Because there are now more than 90,000 shops in Ireland, it is not always possible for banks or card processors to provide the most up to date information on fraud trends affecting Irish businesses. That’s where SafeCard can help. We ensure that you have the most up to date information available to you on an ongoing basis.

When setting up your business for accepting cards, there are a few things that you need to know in advance. Listed below is some standard fraud prevention measures, most of which you will know already but if even one of these is new to you it will add to your own measures:

  • Ensure that you have CCTV cameras installed in your shop. These are a proven deterrent to criminal activity. Make sure they are in working order, that the date and time are correct on them and that they are pointing in the right direction.
  • For all card transactions ensure that your staff members dip or swipe the card and allow the terminal to prompt them on whether a signature or PIN is required.
  • Ensure that staff members are all trained on basic crime and fraud issues – simple points of information can help prevention your business losing money through fraud.
  • Ensure the card data that you are recording or holding is protected under the payment card industry standards (talk to your card processor for more details).
  • Ensure that your internet sales are protected using 3D Secure (talk to your card processor for more details).
  • Make sure that you keep transaction information for the required length of time (as per your card processor’s terms and conditions). If a cardholder disputes a non-Chip & PIN transaction, you may need to produce documentary evidence to prove that they carried out a given purchase at your store.
  • If you want to accept payment cards on the Internet, by mail order or via telesales, ensure that you have the correct terms set up with your card processor. Retailers that accept cards in a face to face environment are required to adhere to a different set of terms than one which accepts cards in a ‘card not present’ environment.
  • Contact your local Garda Station and ask them for information on local known criminals. Having details of known thieves can help you keep them out of your store.
  • It is important to pre-arrange any terminal engineer visits from your card processor, especially when setting up a new business. Criminals might use the opportunity to enter your business purporting to be an engineer and will tamper with your tills and terminals.
  • When engineer visits have been arranged with your terminal provider, ensure that all staff members are made aware of the visit and that the individual provides proper identification on arrival. Make sure that someone stays with them at all times.
  • Keep up to date on current crimes by reviewing our website safecard.ie
  • For all advice, see our various publications on fraud prevention.

Points to remember:

Dip or swipe payment cards in your terminal. The terminal will then prompt you regarding the cardholder verification method:

  1. If the card is a Chip and PIN card you will be prompted to ask the cardholder to enter their PIN on the PIN pad.

  2. If the card is a Chip and Signature card you will be prompted to ask the cardholder to sign the receipt which is printed out (these cards exist for individuals with disabilities, who cannot use a PIN).

  3. If the card does not have a Chip, you will be prompted to request the cardholder to sign a receipt which is printed during the sale.

  4. For non Chip and PIN transactions, we recommend that you check the card and cardholder. There are a number of physical security characteristics that counter staff can be trained to look out for. There is also a file of electronic information contained on the magnetic stripe on the back of the card. While your staff members can check the physical features of the card; the terminal will check the electronic features.

  5. If you are suspicious, call the authorisation centre using the phone number on your terminal and tell the operator that you are making a CODE 10 call. They will instruct you from there.