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Are mPOS Solutions Secure? Our Experts Weigh In

July 23, 2017

A 2013 survey by Javelin Strategy and Research revealed 72 percent of consumers are not sure whether mPOS is secure. This perception indicates business owners still have some work to do in alleviating customer concerns.

Security is on the mind of every merchant and every consumer, especially when it comes to credit cards and personal data. Merchants don't want the costs and loss of customer goodwill that come with counterfeit cards and data breaches. And customers just want to feel confident every time they hand over a card to make a purchase.

mPOS systems incorporate untrusted devices such as tablets and mobile phones across untrusted networks (i.e., cellular, Wi-Fi, Internet). And that means business owners must first focus on network and card data security and fraud prevention when planning for and configuring mobile POS.

Here's a look at three ways you can beef up the security of your mobile POS system:

Address Wireless Network Security

Ensuring the security of your network before adding mPOS is the first step. Many businesses offer unsecured wireless networks for customers, but you'll want to lock down the network used for mobile POS. And deploying the network via an enterprise access point enhances both security and signal coverage, and segregates networks for customers and employees.

Get started by conducting a wireless assessment of your business premises, ensuring your network has adequate coverage. Without it, users will experience loading issues for videos and websites, lengthy payment processing, and spotty signal access—all of which defeat the purpose of a mobile solution.

Secure Cardholder Data from the Start with P2PE

Point-to-point-encryption, or P2PE, keeps cardholder data safe if a point-of-sale device or system is breached. From the moment a customer swipes or dips his card at the mPOS card reader, the data is encrypted the entire time it's transiting the merchant's system. So even if malware is inserted into a mPOS device or anywhere in the POS system—as with many of the 2014 data breaches—card data is secure.

Comply with the EMV Transition

With a short timeline before the October 2015 EMV transition, merchants are racing to upgrade both POS hardware and software to accept the more secure chip cards. And that means mPOS devices need the same protections.

EMV technology prevents the use of counterfeit cards at the point of sale by requiring a unique, single-use code for every transaction. Here's one analogy: Consider your car key as the equivalent of your credit card. With EMV technology, you have the only copy of the key to get your car started.

And as you upgrade your point-of-sale system for EMV, you can easily add EMV-compliant card readers for mPOS devices. You'll avoid fraud liability and give your customers additional peace of mind.

No single strategy will secure your mPOS solution. But when you employ layers of security and encryption, card data stays safe from the time it enters your system until it passes through the payment gateway.

What questions do you have about mPOS security?