There is a lot of dissatisfaction in the merchant community with credit card processors not only over costs, but also customer service and indecipherable bills. With all the recent talk about card processor breaches, it has become apparent that no company is 100% secure. If you are considering looking for a new credit card processor, there are some things you should consider beyond basic PCI compliance and per-transaction pricing.
Three security-focused differentiators are worth mentioning:
# End-to-End Tokenization
Tokenization is focused on the point of sale, where card data is removed from the process at the earliest point, and a token number with no market value is substituted. Today, these approaches are offered by third party gateway vendors and other service providers.
# End-to-End Encryption
Some processors see End-to-End Encryption as the next generation card data security offering. This type of system is an important option for those merchants who want to retain more control of their card data.
# Other “Beyond PCI” Technologies
Processors talk about several “secret sauce” tactics that have yet to make it to the pilot stage, but which will find their way into the market during 2009. In each case, the technologies are an effort to re-introduce some of the technical competitive advantage that the PCI standards have taken away.
# The Bottom Line
Switching card processors is much easier than some merchants think, but you shouldn’t switch just to get a lower transaction processing costs, although that is a good starting point.