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ZOZI Advance is the fastest growing web-based reservation, payment, and customer management platform used by thousands of activity, tour, and event merchants.

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Credit card fraud is an ever-present problem for business owners and customers alike. Data breaches totaled 1,540 worldwide in 2014, and experts predict credit card fraud will remain a "growing problem for years to come," according to CreditCards.com. The largest portion of compromised transactions—45 percent—take place online, while others are related to counterfeit card use, and lost and stolen cards.

Tour and activity operators often take payments while on-the-go via a mobile device in order to help streamline the payment process; however, speeding through the process can leave your company susceptible to fraud. 

Here's what you need to know about how credit card fraud is affecting your business, and ways to reduce the risk of fraudulent transactions during day-to-day operations.

Why Tour and Activity Operators are at Risk for Credit Card Fraud

As a tour and activity operator, you may accept payment right before the tour begins by processing transactions at a kiosk, or even using a mobile app with your customers who are in line. It may only take a few minutes for your customers to get through the line and into their seat, so you need an efficient way to process each transaction. Unfortunately, this speedy process could be putting your company—and your customers—at risk for credit card fraud.

Operators that accept payment using a mobile device may not take the time to verify the identity of the credit card holder. Some may unknowingly be processing transactions from a stolen card or counterfeit card as a result. Since recent credit card regulations for small businesses require implementing an EMV-compliant reader to accept EMV cards—or take full responsibility for any fraudulent charges that occur—it's even more important for tour operators to take steps to minimize the risk of fraud.

Reducing the Risk of Credit Card Fraud for Your Company

There are several things you can do to reduce the risk of credit card fraud at any point of the transaction. Whether you're accepting payments using a mobile device or having guests pay for their session over a desktop computer, you and your staff can take steps to prevent fraudulent charges and identity theft. Some of the most effective ways to do this include:

1. Checking IDs as Part of the Customer Intake Process

One type of credit card fraud occurs when the person using the credit card is not the authorized cardholder. You can have staff members check the card name and signature closely against every customer's driver's license to verify that the cardholder is the owner of the card and authorized to charge to the card. Have your staff verify names and signatures with each transaction—it only takes a few seconds.

2. Checking for Signature Confirmations

Some credit card holders may commit "friendly fraud," or chargeback fraud, where they are the authorized user of the card but end up claiming that they did not authorize the purchase later. Visa estimates friendly fraud totaled $11.8 billion in 2012 alone.

Make sure you maintain a digital or paper copy of a signed receipt so that the customer cannot file this type of claim against your company. Using an online booking system can make it easier to capture digital signatures and store everything in a secure file for future verification or reference when needed.

3. Requesting a Security Code at Checkout

If your customers are making a reservation online or over the phone, make sure to capture the three-digit number on the back of the card, or in the case of American Express transactions, the four digits on the front of the card. This is the security code attached to each account and cannot be easily retrieved by a thief unless they have the physical card in their possession. This is just an extra step to verify that the credit card user is the authorized user of the card and can help to deter fraudulent charges—especially if you're using an online booking program.

4. Using an EMV Chip Card Reader

When you're managing mobile transactions, make sure to use an EMV chip card reader. Now that computer chip-embedded cards are replacing cards with just a magnetic strip, small business owners are 100 percent responsible for reimbursing consumers if they are not using an EMV chip card reader and fraud occurs. (We talked about the big changes that took place on October 1, 2015 here.) EMV chip credit cards are embedded with a microchip that generates authentication information that is almost impossible to duplicate. It acts as an extra layer of security for all credit card transactions, reducing the risk of credit card theft.

The ZOZI Advance mobile app, both on iOS and Android, will work with ZOZI's own chip card reader so that merchants can comply with the new regulations mandated by credit card companies. Specifically for tour operators, the ZOZI Advance mobile app is the only EMV chip card compliant app in the industry for accepting credit card payments. ZOZI Advance merchants can order a ZOZI chip card reader here.