Receiving card payments
Tips to keep your business and customers safe
This page will talk a little more about how to take card payments securely, what to look out for and some guidance on card security in general.
Icon expand Chip and PIN Cards
Entering the PIN – always ask the cardholder to enter their PIN. Nobody else should do this on behalf of the customer.
Locked cards – when a customer enters an incorrect PIN three times in a row, the card is locked. Tell the customer to contact their card issuer. It’s vital you don’t swipe the transaction instead.
Icon expand Cards without Chip and PIN
Not every card has Chip & PIN. When you’re presented with one of these cards, make sure you check all visual security.
- Check the card to ensure it looks genuine by following the steps on the Card Watch website
- Use an Ultra violet lamp to spot the security mark on most cards. Some Visa Electron cards don’t have a security mark.
- Name and gender – check the title on the card with the gender of the person using it.
- Signature – check the spelling of the name on the signature strip against the spelling on the front of the card.
Check the long number – make sure the number on the front of the card matches the card number you’ll see on the till receipt. Sometimes, when fraudsters ‘clone’ a card, the number held in the magnetic strip doesn’t match the one printed on the card.
Icon expand Your responsibility
Incorrect procedure – if a Chip & PIN card is not processed correctly, you could be liable for the transaction if it is confirmed to be fraudulent.
Even if a card is authorised – if you've not carried out all the correct checks - there's a chance you may not receive the payment.
Remember, authorisation is only designed to show two things: that sufficient funds are available to cover the payment and that the card has not been reported lost, stolen or compromised in any other way.
For more information on preventing card fraud, visit the streamline website.
- Customers who use two cards for one purchase – card scheme rules don’t allow this. Or customers who try lots of different cards.
- Indiscriminate purchases – does it almost look as if the customer doesn’t really care what they buy? If the goods could easily be sold on, you should be suspicious.
- Easy sales – is the customer too good to be true? For example, they are not even interested in the price or details about the goods.
- Large sales – ask yourself if the sale is much higher than your usual sales. Is the customer buying lots of different items? Above all, does this person act like your regular types of customer?
- Signature strip – are there any signs of tampering?
- Felt pen signature – if you notice this on a card, it could be a sign that fraudsters are trying to hide the real signature. The card signature should always be in ballpoint pen.
The present Visa and MasterCard designs will be around for a while. However, as new cards are issued, they’re being re-branded with updated designs and security features.
- New logo design – replacing the Visa flag on front of Visa cards.
- Ultraviolet check – Visa cards with the new icon have an ultra violet image inside the logo. You’ll also see the word ‘Visa’ repeated on the signature strip.
- Hologram or holographic magnetic stripe – you might see these on the back of new MasterCard or Visa cards.
- Embossed characters – the ‘Flying V’ and the ‘MC’ embossed letters might not be on the front of many new cards.
- Logos and more – the logos can now appear in more places than before. It’s also worth noting that cards will be able to have ‘portrait’ designs in addition to the current ‘landscape’ ones.
When making card payments, you want to know you are using secure payment services. This means making sure that you:
- Only enter your card details on secure websites
- Always shield your PIN in shops or at cash machines
- Be aware of public Wi-Fi hotspots and the potential risks
- Be aware of ATM fraud and know how to stay safe
See our fraud guides for information about the different types of fraud and tips to keep your data protected.