Do you know the route your application takes to get to underwriting for approval? Data security is presumed in the merchant services industry, but it shouldn’t be. Background checks are required to sell merchant services, but what kind of training do salespeople get on data security? A lot of salespeople work from home, using their personal computers and smartphones. Since your application will contain all the information needed to become a victim of identity theft, ask questions about how it will be secured. If you’re given the option to send your application via email, don’t bother asking these, call a different company.
- Do you work from home? (Salespeople review applications for accuracy and add additional internal documents before turning in to management.)
- Do you personally keep a copy of my merchant application? (HIGH RISK: Only corporate should have access to your personal data.)
- What kind of shredder do you have? (Whether stored at home or not, sensitive data WILL be printed at home. Who hasn’t brought work home at least occasionally? A cross cut shredder is an essential part of a secure home office.)
- How long do you store my application on your computer? (If it’s ever stored on the computer, the answer should be no longer than ‘until it’s approved by underwriting’. )
- What’s your process to remove from your computer? (Secure delete or Erase is critical. Moving to the trash can or recycle bin is not secure at all, as the data is still on the computer. )
There’s lots of other questions that could be asked, but if the person passes the above, he or she is likely following other security steps too. In my opinion, if the salesperson doesn’t know this much about data security, they probably don’t know a heck of a lot about how to help you mitigate fraud or identity theft risk, or manage the cost of accepting credit cards either. Digital security and merchant services are synonymous.