Payment Security Implementations: SMBs May Have Advantages


As security breaches continue to threaten retailers’ reputations and bottom lines, companies of all sizes are scrambling to implement more modern payment technologies. These payment security solutions, typically EMV, point-to-point encryption and tokenization, better protect consumers against fraud and stolen information.

But they’re also notoriously complex to implement and regulations can morph mid-project. For a small or mid-sized business (SMB) with little internal expertise and smaller budgets, approaching a payment security project can be daunting. The good news is that these differences don’t exclude SMBs from taking on an implementation, and in fact I think they can set up SMBs for success in different ways.

Don’t assume you need the kitchen sink

Sure, you may have read about a big Tier 1 retailer that’s implementing a huge payment security project, but that doesn’t mean their approach makes sense for your business.

Your operation may not require the level or depth of integration that larger retailers need for their omnichannel operations or payment processes. You can still give your customers an easy, streamlined payment or returns experience, but maybe you can do one or two steps manually (behind the scenes) to create the experience you want – rather than go to the expense and time of automating or integrating multiple systems.

What do your customers expect? 

Understand how your customers transact with your business:  Are they driven by discounts or coupons? Do they frequent your business for your great customer service and the interactions with your team?

Note the make-up of your transactions as well. Besides cash, credit and debit cards, how many of your transactions involve other tenders such as checks and gift cards? Understanding how your customers interact with you during the buying process can help you understand what payment capabilities are truly strategic and which ones may be an extra investment with little business benefit.

Consider standalone solutions

If most of your company’s transactions are straight-forward sales and returns, your payment security needs could simply require standalone solutions. Rather than a widespread, disruptive implementation and integration project, standalone solutions can give you and your customers the security and buying experience you need without going to greater lengths for little additional gain. For instance, a standalone device for payments within your physical store may only require you to partially integrate your systems – or maybe you don’t get a lot of chargebacks and it’s not even worth it to do full EMV, point-to-point encryption and tokenized integrations. There are many direct payment and semi-integrated payment options for SMBs that will be cost-effective and make sense for your type of business.

The payment security world is complicated to navigate, but as an SMB you may actually have some advantages that call for a streamlined – and less costly and complicated - implementation process to keep your operations secure and customers happy. A systems integrator can help you map exactly what’s required from a security, implementation and support perspective. 

Kimberly Berneck, SVP of Delivery Management, BTM Global