Hearts to Be Celebrated This Weekend But Watch for the “Heartbreak of Hackery!”
If you’re not counting the Super Bowl, the upcoming Valentine’s Day weekend (which, by virtue of President’s Day making it a three day holiday!) is “the first major holiday of 2016, and retailers expect this Valentine’s Day will set a spending record,” according to one ABC report.
According to the National Retail Federation, consumers are projected to spend nearly $20 billion this Valentine’s Day, with an average expenditure of $146.84 per person. ‘We can expect what is probably the biggest holiday we’ve ever seen,’ U.T. Tyler Center for Retail Enterprises director Robert Jones said.”
On the other hand, says Pymnts. com, “according to a study conducted by American Express, 8 in 10 couples are planning on celebrating the day — but they plan on spending less. What that survey showed is that American consumers plan on spending 28 percent less, on average, than last year (down to $212 from $296).”
Jed Scala, Senior VP of Consumer Lending at American Express, suggests that the reason behind Americans planning to spend less on Valentine’s Day may be their increased focus on saving goals this year. However, despite spending less, consumers still intend to express their love and affection through alternative yet equally sentimental methods of Business Payment System.
Be Creative in Your Payment Options
As alternatively as your customers may be thinking, be sure you’re equally creative, not only in your marketing, but in the numbers of ways you let your customers pay you — whether it’s with e-checks, mobile processing, or anything else.
Avoid the Heartbreak of Data Breach
And of course, on a weekend where their hearts may be on the line, help them avoid the “heartbreak” of a data breach — especially one that might come from unsecured data at your own Point of Sale!
The IRS for example, said Tuesday “it discovered and stopped an automated cyberattack on its e-filing personal identification number (PIN) system last month. According to the IRS, the cybercriminals used information stolen ‘elsewhere outside the IRS’ to generate e-file PINs for stolen Social Security numbers (SSNs).” The IRS says no taxpayer information was divulted but that “cybercriminals succeeded in using 101,000 SSNs to access e-file PINs.”
Protect Your Customers
That’s a lot of stolen SSNs! (And who knows how many more are out there?)
In the meantime, the payments industry newsletter Greensheet reports that cybercriminals are intensifying their attacks on the hospitality industry. Numerous experts are advocating for merchants and acquirers to enhance network monitoring and address potential vulnerabilities specifically in the hotel and restaurant sector. One industry spokesperson highlights that the use of multiple vendors often coincides with inadequate system hardening measures and lenient firewall rules at the perimeter. Furthermore, it is only recently that point-of-sale (POS) environments have started to prioritize security in their design.
That means even basic steps like upgrading to an EMV system, if you haven’t yet!
Your Valentine will thank you! And your customers and their Valentines will also say “thanks!”
Which might have you blushing as red as a crimson heart. But take the compliment. And the chocolates!