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Storing client credit card numbers

So you can charge them multiple times

Goal: Store your client's credit card numbers safely so you can charge them for multiple invoices.

Challenge: How can a small design firm do this safely when firms as large as Target are unable to? 

Solution:  Don't store the actual credit numbers, but "tokenize" them.

Background: When your clients provide you with their credit card number, it is important to store it in the safest way possible. Millions of businesses do this by using a technology called "tokenization". The way it works is that you enter the credit card number into your software program. The number is sent to something known as a payment gateway provider. This provider will store the actual card number and send back to the software program a "token" which is string of letters and/or numbers. The software program stores this token. When it is time to charge the client's credit card, the software program uses this token rather than the actual card number. The charge transaction works exactly the same as if the credit card number was sent. 

The main benefit of tokenization is that it means that you are not storing actual credit card numbers. If your computer is stolen, or you have a dishonest employee, the tokens are meaningless.

Sound scary and complicated? It can be, but it doesn't need to be. Here are some important bottom lines: 

  1. The biggest gateway provider in the US is Authorize.Net  We use this firm as do millions of other businesses. 
  2. With our SmartCreditCard add-on module you simply enter the client's credit card number and it is instantly tokenized through Authorize.Net. DeisgnSmart stores the token so you can charge the client's card any number of times.
  3. This means you can rest assured that you are protecting yourself as well as your client.

Finally, if it is as easy as tokenizing card numbers what about Target? Retails stores don't tokenize because of the nature of their business. If you are a design firm and want the ease and benefits of charging a card more than one, tokenization is your safest and best option.


Categories: Best Practices, Design

Comments (1)

  • financethinkers

    27 July 2014 at 10:41 |
    Great idea. It is all about business. We shouldn\'t loose our customers. Their credit cards info will be helpful in future