Many small businesses have to bear several burdens in order to accept credit cards. The first is that you have to actually obtain a merchant account (which can be difficult when you are just starting out), then obtain the right equipment (a card swipe and whatever you need to securely execute transactions), and then finally now that you’re collecting credit card data you’ll need to secure it or risk falling out of compliance with PCI regulations.
Yesterday, I met with longtime PR colleague Cheryl Snapp Conner and Gary Goodrich and Greg Pesci of ProPay. ProPay has a new product which is going to alleviate all of the burdens I’ve listed above about accepting credit card transactions. It’s a small battery powered USB connected card swipe that costs less than $100. Anyone can get set up almost immediately, and, as far as security is concerned, the idea is simply brilliant (or simple and brilliant depending on how you look at it).
This portable card swipe is about the size of 2 fingers or about half the size of my Blackberry Pearl. It’ll run on batteries so it can be disconnected from your computer. When you swipe a card, the info is encrypted immediately and sent encrypted to ProPay’s server where the transaction is run. If the device isn’t connected to your PC, then it can actually store up to 71 encrypted credit cards that you can then process later. For a mobile sales person, this could be huge. Just carry this portable and inexpensive unit with you, safely collect credit card info, and safely process it later in the day.
The beauty here is that there is no issue with PCI compliance at all because, drum roll please, you never actually collect identifying customer data. Everything you collect is encrypted immediately so it is already protected.
I really think that this could be huge. ProPay could do for credit card transactions what PayPal did for e-commerce, which is rock the world with a new model of processing transactions while assuring customers that they are secure. Although I haven’t tested it, the MicroSecure Card Reader looks like it can be a serious boon to anyone who wants to accept credit cards.
Anyone want to hire a blogger? I now take credit cards…