Storing Credit Card Information can be Costly
“I started a new relationship with a Realtor and after we negotiated a deal for 360 virtual tours she wanted to give me her American Express credit card number over the phone. I thanked her for her trust; however, I declined to take it. I knew that if I stored it in my computer in any form or even wrote it down on a pad, I could be fined a half a million dollars.
Identity theft is at an all time high. There are a myriad of ways that the theft occurs, the highest reported theft comes from the restaurant industry, but they are not the least of the culprits. Credit card information can be taken from stolen credit card swiping machines, written down by waitresses, and the big one… hijacked via computer viruses and key loggers. In an effort to thwart would be thieves, the credit card industry has set forth steep fines that can be brought forth to any merchant that stores credit card information in any way unless extreme security measures are in place. That fine can be as much as $500,000.
There is a very easy solution that can protect all parties involved. I opened a PayPal account. After the virtual tour was done I simply emailed her an invoice from my PayPal account and she paid online. The fees are based on the amount of the transaction and there is no monthly fee. The nominal transaction fee more than makes up for the ease of doing business and saves the cost of envelopes and stamps for both parties. I did two more tours for her they were paid in the same way. Now, for my higher priced business virtual tours, I usually request a check, just to save the fee.
PayPal and other clearing houses like them, handle billions of dollars in transactions. They are held to the highest security and reporting standards. I was able to conclude my business and I have no idea what her credit card number is. It is not stored anywhere in any of my systems. She is protected and so is my virtual tour company”