Data Breaches Strike Hotel Industry

Apr 23, 2015

The latest business hit hard by a major security breach hails from the hotels industry: Mandarin Oriental. The hotel chain suffers from an issue common to hotels and data security. From the time when a card is swiped and the payment processing is under-way, the customer’s information becomes vulnerable due to outdated payment hardware and payment gateways. Now, more than ever, it’s important for businesses with hotel merchant accounts to protect themselves and their customers.

Hotels have a potentially difficult problem with data security due to the simple fact that they are always accepting payments. With a rapid turnover and high volume transactions, hotels are vulnerable. Once a crack is found in the payment processing chain in a hotel, a small breach can become a major problem fast. The Mandarin Oriental breach was targeted at the encryption technology which has become woefully outdated for most businesses in the hotels and hospitality industry.

Yet, despite this vulnerability, many hotels don’t treat data security during payment processing as a major aspect of conducting business. For more than a year the number of high profile breaches has been alarming, but if we look a layer deeper the number of attacks has been increasing at a staggering rate since 2009.

The major credit card companies, Visa and MasterCard, are working hand-in-hand with the payments processing industry to lead a push to modernize the point-of-sale technology and payment gateways. The old swipe technology is clearly outdated and in need of newer replacements such as tokenization. For hotels especially, modernizing and paying active attention to present dangers is vital for day-to-day operations.

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the Mandarin Oriental hotel chain’s breach is that it was any surprise at all. Major hotel chains, and even local hotel franchises, need to be aware of the danger and take preventative steps. It’s no use trying to react after an attack occurs as by then it’s too late. If nothing else, all businesses in the hotel industry have been put on alert. Take the steps now to meet security compliance and plan on updating your payment gateway technology as soon as it’s made available.

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Having a merchant account allows an account holder to take advantage of merchant cash advances. When a merchant is approved for an advance, the business agrees to receive a lump sum of cash in exchange for an agreed-upon percentage of future credit card sales.

Pricing varies depending on the merchant’s industry, past credit card processing history, the type of business seeking the account, average ticket sales, and average transaction volumes.

Yes, EMB works with merchants who are building their credit, as well as those who have poor credit. EMB also approves merchants that have no credit card processing history and businesses that have lost their merchant accounts due to high chargebacks.

Several factors influence a merchant’s risk level. Though only one factor likely will not get a merchant classified as high risk, a combination of these may: business size, location, and industry, credit score, credit card processing history, a industry’s reputation for excessive chargebacks, a prior history of high chargeback ratios, and whether a merchant exclusively sells online.

Virtual terminals are stationed on a merchant’s website, making it easy for customers to make a payment or purchase online. Merchants or a payment processor can easily set up virtual terminals, so online businesses can accept credit and debit card and e-check transactions.

A merchant account is a business account with an acquiring bank. Without this business account, which actually works more like a line of credit, a merchant cannot accept and process credit and debit card transactions. Businesses need a merchant account to accept major credit cards via a static point-of-sale terminal, mobile card reader, or through a virtual payment gateway.

After filling out EMB’s simple online application and submitting any necessary, requested documents, many merchants get approved within 24 and 48 hours.

EMB specializes in working with high-risk merchants. EMB works with many merchants, including but not limited to businesses in these industries: gambling and gaming, adult entertainment, nutraceuticals, vaping and e-cigarettes, electronics, tech support, travel, high-end furniture, weight loss programs, calling cards, e-books and software, and telecommunications.

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