U.S. consumers are wising up the fact that credit card security is a real issue, which means small businesses and other organizations may want to introduce dual purpose cash and check scanners into their offices. For many people, the recent holiday shopping season served as a wake-up call to the fact that information processed during electronic transactions can quickly be stolen and manipulated by hackers and cyberthieves. An article from The Guardian said 100 million credit and debit card numbers were recently stolen from databases at Target, a major retail chain.
The implications for events like these span well beyond the industries in which they originated. For example, if Americans are ultimately inclined to be more cautious with their use of electronic payment methods, virtually every other business or nonprofit organization they interact with on a regular basis will be impacted by this behavioral change. The Guardian article said many U.S. credit card providers are largely behind other nations when it comes to utilizing the latest security technology. For example, consumers in Europe have access to integrated circuit cards that contain microchips designed to protect unique financial information from theft. However, the U.S. has been relatively slow to implement these innovations into the consumer landscape.
Anticipate change with automated technology
As a result, small enterprises may be want to make special accommodations for tools such as dual purpose cash and check scanners in their back office operations. Employees at organizations that are used to collecting income through electronic transactions may suddenly find themselves having to spend long hours every day manually counting money or depositing checks. After a while, these inefficient processes may lead to an overall unproductive business, which means it will be harder to achieve long-term growth goals.
It's not just private companies that run this risk, either. Teresa Murray, the personal finance writer for The Plain Dealer, a Cleveland-based newspaper, wrote in a recent column about how using checks and cash is a much safer way to make donations to nonprofit organizations. She also said many checking accounts are able to notify users of unusual activity to further protect them from potential breaches or fraud. Enterprises of all types can be proactive about their backroom financial processes by investing in machines that can both count currency and process checks to prepare for gradual shifts in consumer behavior.
February 3, 2014