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Is Square A Secure Way To Accept Credit Card Payments?

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Emily Hale

Emily Hale

Emily is a writer, strategist, and freelance consultant based in Indianapolis. She is driven to create content that empowers her readers and her clients to make better choices in their business and their lives. When she's not in the thick of researching and developing blogs for Merchant Maverick, she likes to cook from scratch for her family or escape outdoors and meander through nature with her rescue pup.
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    Derek Boczenowski

    Great Article!

    I did have one question though. PCI has multiple controls around making sure the Point of Interaction devices have not been tampered with, and to ensure that security awareness training and other documentation is in place. Obviously, Square cannot validate this as part of PCI. Since Square is assuming merchant ID responsibility, how should the customer protect against the controls that Square cannot possibly manage?

      Jessica Dinsmore

      Hi Derek,

      Square has a few safeguards in place that may address some of your concerns, but there are some best practices a merchant can do as well. First, you should know that Square redesigned their card readers to prevent tampering. If anyone attempts to open it up or rig it to copy data to another source, they won’t be able to because it is designed to break when it’s tampered with in any way. Additionally, Square Terminal and Square Register can only run through their own apps, and all card data — no matter how the sale is input, gets encrypted. So even if someone were to “break into” your system, they are only going to get the last 4 digits of the credit card number anyway. Square reduces the PCI scope of the merchant because your servers, your phone, or your device never actually transmits or stores data, it’s only through the reader or Square app.

      That being said, of course you should safeguard your password, and make sure to change it if an employee leaves, because they could potentially sign into your dashboard if you don’t safeguard your information, or use limited sign-ons for your staff. Square is no more or less secure in payment security than any other POS system. These systems use encryption and may even be tokenization, but there is still room for human error or deceit for that matter.

      An employee may jot down a card number, for instance. It’s up to the merchant to ensure it’s not a company-wide approach to make imprints of credit cards, or record them in a spreadsheet. You can’t do much about a bad apple, but making sure you’re doing what you can to follow PCI compliance, including using a fully PCI compliant system like Square is a good move.

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      Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships, and we adhere to strict guidelines to preserve editorial integrity. The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone.

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