04 Apr Why Paper Checks Are Not As Secure For Your Business As You Believe
It’s important as a business to make sure you’re trying to follow best practices; especially when you’re working on your business’s security.
One of the biggest oversights you can make is how you handle payments. It’s a serious risk to mishandle payment information. It can ruin your company’s image and cost you customers if you’re not doing everything to keep your clients’ information safe.
Security is always a bit of a moving target, but there are certain business practices that are no longer recommended when handling payments.
One of the biggest changes your business should make is to stop accepting checks as a form of payment. They’re not safe for you or your clients. In fact, according to security experts, they might be the most unsecure way of exchanging money.
Why paper checks are risky
We could spend hours listing all the problems that come with accepting paper checks, but we’re going to try and focus on the main ones.
Paper checks are filled with personal information that is disastrous in the wrong hands. They have your client’s account and routing numbers listed on them, making it simple for anyone to write down and use.
Checks are also pretty easy to forge. Someone with basic photoshop skills could make copies and use. You could put your client’s bank account in jeopardy if someone manages to steal that information.
Checks are also risky because they touch a lot of hands along the way to the bank. Either it’s sent through the post, to your front desk, to your accounting department, where it is hopefully shredded. If it takes your department a few days to process incoming checks, it also means there are checks sitting on that person’s desk for days at a time. Anyone who comes into their office could swipe it or quickly write down the information.
When you really start thinking about all the ways someone can easily steal that fragile piece of paper, you start questioning if it’s really the best way to process payments.
Security experts don’t recommend paper checks
There are lots of other ways checks are risky, but what we mentioned above are some of the main concerns. Fraud experts warn of the security risks of checks. Frank Abergale, the former check forger turned American security consultant, points out the problems with checks.
“I personally write very few checks. Here’s the reason: if I write a check at Walgreens or CVS, I’m leaving that check behind with the clerk. And on that check is my name, address, phone number, my bank’s name and address, my bank account number, routing number, and my signature. And if that store clerk writes down my driver’s license on the front of the check, in nine states—including the one I live in—that’s my Social Security number, too. Then, next to it he writes my date of birth.” Frank Abagnale, www.money.usnews.com.
Your image is everything, and you can damage your image if your business keeps accepting paper checks and someone nabs your clients account information. Not only does it feel outdated, but your clients have to hope that their check doesn’t go missing on the way to your business, or have their account information copied and their account drained.
There are better solutions
Now that we know paper checks are risky, we understand you might not want to pay for credit card processing, but it’s fairly easy to sign up with a secure payment gateway solution that does ACH.
Switching to a solution like this makes it impossible for anyone in your business to have access to your clients’ bank account or routing numbers. You can have the funds deposited quickly instead of waiting for a paper check to come in through the mail and then clear.
There are better ways for your clients to pay you then checks. They’re risky, easy to copy, and easy to be lost on route. The sooner you stop processing them, the sooner you protect yourself and your clients from fraud.
Want to see how secure accepting payments can be? Contact us for a demo, and give your clients the peace of mind their payment information is protected.