New study reveals best ways to avoid data breaches

As of May 2019, debit is the preferred method to purchase things in the US, while cash remains the least preferred by a significant margin. Statistics like these have seen merchants reprioritize how they go about securing consumer loyalty, a concern especially pressing for small businesses. New technology continues to mold the payment industry, crowning e-commerce, and advanced point-of-sale systems as a means of streamlining business management.

According to a new study conducted by Forrester and commissioned by Bank of America, 17% of costumers have chosen not to make a purchase at a location after said establishment rejects their preferred method of payment. From the report: “With the amount of competition small businesses face these days, it’s important to make the most of every customer interaction. Letting customers pay their preferred way can help to make a good impression; otherwise, small businesses may lose the sale or suffer decreased customer satisfaction.”

Convenience isn’t the only reason consumers and merchants are employing digital wallets (nearly double have done so since last year), as security is also a concern. Forty-one percent of small business owners had to pay more than $50,000 to recover from a data breach, according to the study. Nearly 30% of customers said that they would never shop at an establishment that experienced a data breach.

Seventy percent of small business owners utilize e-commerce via an app, website or a third-party source. EMV chip readers are the best way to keep confidential information from becoming compromised. Thankfully, 80% of small business accept EMV chips cards, up from 55% recorded two years ago.  The authors add, “With the increased threat to finances and reputation, small businesses are turning to some tried and true tactics to help keep safe. Here are the top ways small businesses have protected themselves in the past 24 months:”

Fifty-seven percent of merchants habitually update their POS, 44% of small business owners implement industry security standards and the remaining 43% extensively train employees to correctly operate POS systems in order to avoid breaches. The study concludes:

“The rise of smart POS systems and integrated management technology is changing the game for small businesses. Sixty-percent of small businesses have a POS that can do more than take payments.”