Archive for October 2011

Is PCI compliance working?

October 31st, 2011 — 1:15pm

Interesting article that touches on PCI – the guy interviewed here, Gray Taylor, suggests what has to happen in order to reduce fraud in the credit card arena.

Fighting Fraud: Banks, Merchants Must Align

He seems to be concluding that the PCI standards are failing, and that banks and merchants must move to stronger measures – perhaps fingerprint scanning, or other biometrics to verify a customer’s identity.

So the question is whether the PCI standards will be ditched, or simply added to in the future.

Comment » | E-commerce

Some comments on the Mobile Web

October 19th, 2011 — 10:54am

In a recent usability study, users were asked to complete some normal tasks using mobile web sites.   Using standard smartphones, the users could complete 62% of the tasks assigned.  That seems reasonable for these small and slow devices…but I’d note two things:

1.  These were mobile web sites – designed specifically for users of these types of phones.  That says to me that we need to do a lot better with our mobile sites.  It also indicates that maybe smartphones are a little too small to use for everything.  Imagine if we did away with 8.5×11 inch paper and forced content to be communicated on 3×5 index cards?  It never happened, even though the “technology” was there.

2.  38% of tasks failed!  That’s a huge number if you are trying to sell something, or provide customers with information they need.

I’d also say that the future of the mobile web is very much a question mark.  Do all websites need to offer fully functional mobile counterparts, or some sort of hybrid?  Meaning that some functionality is available for a mobile site, but not everything.  It strikes me that the screen size is a bit limitation, and that people will realize that.  Perhaps future smartphones will provide some way to cast a virtual screen that’s larger, or something.  In the meantime, I think people will continue to use multiple devices and accept the limitations of each.

Comment » | mobile, Usability

See the world from Facebook

October 18th, 2011 — 9:32am

It seems like Facebook is aiming to become your portal to the world.  The increased functionality and embedded applications available in Facebook make it easier to accomplish your web related tasks without leaving the portal.

I think it’s still a long way off, but more sites are developing facebook apps that allow you to stay with your FB page.  For instance, here’s an article on Zipcar:

Zipcar Members Can Now Reserve A Car On Facebook

and more apps are coming each day.  I think that more websites and businesses will have to develop facebook related apps to allow users to seamlessly move between sites and applications, without logging in again.

Comment » | Social Media

PCI scanning service

October 12th, 2011 — 4:24pm

After a lot of research and testing, I’m pleased to ControlScan services for PCI compliance. They have a process in place to assist you in obtaining and maintaining PCI compliance for your website.

There are two main steps to obtain PCI compliance.

1.  A questionnaire about your business and card-handing practices.

2.  A remote scan of your server, to determine any vulnerabilities that might exist.

This service is $249 / year, which allows you to scan your site quarterly.   My recommendation to my ecommerce clients at this point it this:  Try the service for 1 year – fill out the questions, and scan your server.  This will help you button up your site, and when your merchant account provider asks you about PCI compliance, you are ahead of the game.  So far PCI enforcement seems pretty lax, but that could change any time.  Having some PCI documentation under your belt will also help you if there are any security issues.

The site is here – read about the included services, and sign up using the buy now button on the left.

Comment » | E-commerce

Wireless terminal to process payments

October 7th, 2011 — 8:00pm

If you are a mobile merchant – that is, you often set up a booth to sell your wares, or collect payments from clients while on the road, then having a solution to take credit card payments might appeal to you.  CDG Commerce offers just the thing you need – a wireless terminal.  Take a look:

CDG's wireless credit card terminal

CDG Commerce is known for providing a low cost processing solution, and this is no different.  The wireless access is $20 / month, and the merchant account is an additional $10 (which includes a web virtual terminal, and ecommerce capabilities).  If you are looking for low cost processing, this is it!

You can read more and apply for the service here.

Comment » | E-commerce, mobile

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