Retail breaches so common they no longer phase customers

In the wake of recent retail security breaches, it would be easy to think that customers would think twice about where they shop. However, a new study conducted by the Ponemon Institute suggests that these attacks have been so common over the past 12 months that many customers feel hopeless to protect their data and payment information from cybercriminals.

As many as half of the victims polled by Ponemon had fallen victim to breaches before, but only 14 percent said data breaches would affect which merchants they patronized, suggesting a supposed inevitability that if criminals wanted to steal data from merchants, there is little that could be done to avoid it.

People do care about their privacy and the safety of their data - only 23 percent said privacy matters have zero influence over their behaviors - but they feel they need to implement their own safety measures rather than relying on the businesses to do so for them. For example, nearly half of the respondents said they were using their credit cards for purchases instead of debit cards, as they figure they have less to lose if their credit card information gets stolen.

“That ultimately comes down to the fact that as a consumer, do I want to be out of that money out of my checking account or would I rather deal with a statement later and fight it via my bank on my credit card?” says Ruben Rodriguez, principal product marketing manager in the fraud, risk and intelligence group at RSA. “That has caused some hesitation and a shift in what they do, but they’re still shopping and using their cards. It’s just a difference between using one versus the other.”

Making payment security a priority
The fact that consumers feel they need to take matters into their own hands by carefully considering which card they use should serve as a red flag about how bad protection at the point of sale has become in the eyes of shoppers.

In fact, over recent years, pre-paid cards have even grown more popular, partially because the most money that can ever be stolen is the amount held on the card. Fox Business reported that prepaid cards represent the fastest-growing noncash payments in America as a result.

Businesses, regardless of whether they are involved in the retail sector or any other industry, should strive to make payment process secure so customers do not have to think twice about which card they use. Knowing they can shop securely creates a more laid back shopping experience and relieves some of the unnecessary stress consumers may be feeling about paying.

This starts with a POS system that makes use of the latest encryption technologies, such as tokenization. Encryption has become a hot topic in the payments industry as of late, and it is something that many companies are looking for in their payment tools.