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Electronic payments improving economic wellness

May 10, 2013 Dave King

The electronic payments market has experienced exponential growth in recent years, as more businesses and consumers begin to adopt the associated technology. However, many experts assert that enterprises and consumers need to be especially vigilant when it comes to payment card security standards, as hackers have targeted automated transactions, such as those carried out through ACH cards, as methods of stealing sensitive information and money.

ACH cards and electronic payments at large have been cited as coming with a variety of benefits, such as increased efficiency in accounts payable and receivable, as well as an ability to better oversee all transactions. Further, electronic payments have decreased the dependency most companies have on paper products, thus lowering carbon footprints and strengthening brand images.

Electronic payments have also been viewed by many as a means of improving engagement among consumers, and have proven to penetrate markets such as the unbanked and underbanked populations. The trick to a successful electronic payment strategy is balancing between user-friendliness and stringent data security, as only one breach of information can lead to serious repercussions, such as sanctions, fines and hurt reputations.

Expo to take place in May
The Electronic Transactions Association recently announced that it will be holding the Annual Meeting and Expo from April 30 to May 2 in New Orleans. This event is specifically targeted at small business owners and is intended to educate entrepreneurs in the best practices of electronic payment processing and security. According to the association, small business owners have driven adoption rates higher in the United States and abroad.

The ETA is an international trade association that represents more than 500 companies, all of which have already implemented electronic payment processing technology. The conference will include 200 speakers, including J. Chancy Lyford, the deputy associate administrator of the Office of Small Business Development Centers at the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The ETA Executive Luncheon will be hosted by Jason Oxman, who is the CEO of the organization, and will offer attendees more information related to the economic impact of electronic payment processing capabilities.

"Small businesses play a pivotal role in the deployment of payments innovation," Oxman explained. "ETA's 2013 meeting and expo is the only place to learn about new opportunities in payments, and our small business event will allow payments professionals to hear directly from small businesses about what they need from their payments solutions providers."

Taking a lesson from federal governments
ZDNet recently reported that the Government of India has launched a number of electronic projects to become more digitized and efficient. According to the news provider, these initiatives are expected to also improve transparency in the federal government and potentially even stimulate more growth in the entrepreneurial community.

The source explained that some of the more progressive platforms that have been implemented are directly targeted at small business owners, empowering them with the necessary tools to meet legal requirements while efficiently capitalizing on new technology. The U.S. government has also taken several steps to become more digital, as many officials believe that the American people, as well as businesses, will be better positioned to succeed as a result.

However, the most important component of such strategies is maintaining the integrity of financial information security, as cyber criminals have become increasingly proficient at circumventing antiquated protection protocols and solutions. Businesses that are beginning to launch electronic payment initiatives, especially those conducted through ACH accounts, should invest in the necessary security solutions before managing digital consumer information.

By taking a comprehensive approach to data security and integrating proper controls into electronic payments strategies, companies can capitalize on the popularity of digital portals while mitigating the various risks.