Recent changes in Covid alert levels have highlighted that businesses need to be prepared to accept payments without any customer contact.
REDnews sat down with Westpac’s payments team for some best practice tips to prevent common disputes seen during previous lockdowns, and information about an upcoming global industry change that could require businesses to update their payment or reporting systems.
Many businesses have had to quickly adapt to accepting payments online or over the phone so that they can continue to operate through lockdowns.
Charlotte Steiner, from Westpac’s Merchant Risk & Compliance team, said that regardless of the payment channel being used, businesses needed to provide customers with clear terms and conditions and understand the rules around them to reduce the risk of being involved in a payment dispute.
“It’s really important that businesses properly disclose terms and conditions governing those payments,” she said.
Proper disclosure means communicating terms and conditions to customers and providing a mechanism for them to accept those conditions.
“If a customer decides to dispute the transaction, the business may be required to refund the purchase amount if they can’t provide evidence that they’ve disclosed the terms and conditions and the customer has accepted them.”
Clicking ‘pay’ does not mean acceptance of terms.
Many businesses aren’t aware that proper disclosure and payment is a two-step process, Steiner said.
In an e-commerce environment, this means terms and conditions must be displayed on the pages preceding the payment page. The customer can accept these by clicking on a check box before they make a payment.
If a business ends up in a dispute for this payment channel, they must be able prove that they disclosed the terms and conditions and the customer accepted them before the payment was made.
Taking payments over the phone makes it harder to disclose terms.
Steiner said businesses that accept payments by manually keying card numbers directly into terminals (also known as MOTO transactions), also need to ensure that terms and conditions have been properly disclosed to customers.
These can be sent by mail, email or text message. In the case of a dispute, businesses will need to provide evidence that the customer received or acknowledged these terms.
Online payment channels provide more protection options from fraud.
For extra protection against fraud related payments, Steiner recommended businesses turn on 3DSecure. When a customer enters their card details on a 3DSecure protected e-commerce website, the purchase or payment they are trying to make is authenticated with their bank.
“This provides an additional layer of security for e-commerce transactions prior to payment processing,” Steiner said.
“That’s why we encourage businesses who rely on MOTO facilities to adopt a secure online payment method instead.”
Businesses should prepare for eight-digit BINs.
In April 2022 six-digit bank identifications numbers – commonly known as BINs – will be expanding to eight digits.
“This may affect businesses who use BINs in their back-end systems for reporting, fraud monitoring or analytics,” Steiner said.
To find out more, businesses are encouraged to check out westpac.co.nz/eight-digit-bins.