Millennials (also known as the Millennial Generation or Generation Y) are the demographic cohort following Generation X. There are no precise dates when the generation starts and ends. Researchers and commentators use birth years ranging from the early 1980s to the early 2000s [according to Wikipedia]. This places this group in the age range of 15 – 35, a pretty large gap in years, but really known to many of us as the “Tech generation.”
Millennials get technology, they have been raised with it, and don’t know what it means to be without some level of access to it. They are also a generation focused on the environment, self-service, healthy lifestyles, being single for longer than their parents or grandparents, incurring more education (and debt) and they are well versed in the use of paying by credit/debit card versus cash. They spend money, but only after checking with their friends to see if it’s a good deal.
Connecting with millennials is actually pretty easy, given their affinity for social networking and social media. If you just monitor Facebook, Twitter and Instagram you can garner a wealth of information about your prospective customers. They like restaurants and other establishments that make it easy for them to make purchases, that reward them without them having to think about it, and businesses who seemly “know” them. Because they are on a social stream of consciousness they are eager and happy to share information with everyone, making it easy to reach them in their own environments (for promotions/push ad’s and engagements) but appear to lack a bit in their desire for security of their own personal information.
Most millennials don’t carry cash, probably never have. They are used to having credit/debit cards and accessing ATM’s when the need for a little paper money is necessary. Hackers find millennials easy prey, so it’s up to the rest of us to ensure systems are in place to protect this ever vigilant group in their quest to share.
In 2006, PCI (theft prevention measures) was launched and began requiring integrated software providers to tighten up their solutions with regards to payments and the handling of credit cards. This year (October 2015) the card brands have established that EMV (fraud protection measures) will take hold. While there is still a great debate about whether or not EMV will be quickly adopted or not, it’s clear to those of us in the payments arena that neither PCI, EMV and/or other security requirements are going to go away, security in payments is here to stay.
What do you need to know to protect your tech savvy clientele? Three things:
- Tokenization – it’s a given and a must have just to keep the lights on. Tokens replace actual card numbers with a representative number. This is critically important when information is being stored.
- P2PE (Point-to-Point Encryption) – protects cards when you swipe them, even before they make their way to your point-of-sale system. P2PE protects data in flight and offers peace of mind at point of purchase. If you have a P2PE solution you can rest assured that a hacker on your network is not getting your customers card information.
- EMV – abates concern with regard to the use of fraudulent cards at your store. EMV (Euro MasterCard Visa) validates the consumer using a chip card (with either a PIN or a Signature).
Implementing all three, tokenization, P2PE and EMV, may seem like overkill – but it’s not. Each one has a specific reason for its existence and each one focuses on a specific way to secure card data. You take time to ensure the locks on your doors are working so no one breaks in to your place of business, card security is much the same. While someone breaking into your restaurant may steal money or liquor or other valuable items – once they leave the damage is done, you can quickly assess the cost associated and you can work to shore up your physical security.
The problem with card security is that a hacker often glides in unnoticed, steals hundreds or thousands of card holders information, sells it on the black market and not until consumers begin to notice does the impact start to hit you. Brand reputation, law suits and chargebacks just to name a few of the things you will have to shore up if you are breached. Credit card theft and/or fraud isn’t something that is often noticed right away, but has lasting impact and frequently causes businesses to close.
Protect your consumers, protect your business and look into and then invest in tokenization, P2PE and EMV. It could be the difference between your lights on or your doors locked for good.