We have started to see an increase in phone calls, and e-mails about the security of our website. It probably has to do with the hacking reports for some of the big companies like Target and Home depot.
Well, we dont blame you for asking about it, and figured we should write a bit about it here to hopefully give you some peace of mind.
A few years ago, we decided to try a more mainstream cart system, and after much research we selected Shopify.com for the hosting of our website. One of the things we were looking for was a complete system that not only allowed us to present our products in a more logical way, but something that could handle order payments, without having to use a 3rd party payment processor. In our experience, the more companies you have to get involved, the more time your personal information spends in cyber space. Encrypted or not, it made a headache for us as well, since every order we had to be verified in up to 3 different payment systems before we could actually process the order.
With shopify, they handle the encryption, the credit card processing and everything else we need. At no time do we at Sterling EVER see ANY of your credit card information that you enter into our website. We do not have access to any of it. We can see your shipping and billing address, what you ordered, what you paid, that is all.
The only credit card data we are given is the results of Shopify's security checks that occur on every transaction. for example:
- Does your billing information match what your bank has on file (Pass or Fail)
- is your shipping address within x number of miles of your billing address.
- Is your billing address within x number of miles from the location your ISP has on file for you as determined by your IP address?
- Does your Zip match what your bank has on file?
- Does the security code you entered for your credit card match what the bank has in file?
Literally all we see are red and green dots. More than 2 red, and shopify will e-mail us seperatly and tell us they recommend that we cancel the order, or try to get a different payment method.
It has happened before, and we really appreciate them working with us in these matters.
If you created a web account with us, the website system may allow you to store credit cards for later use. We have no access to that information AT ALL! We occasionally get calls from customers asking to use a card on file. That is not possible. We cannot see if there is a card on file, nor can we use it if there is one. If you order from us by phone, we can pull and and link your order to your web account, but we have to take your credit card information by phone as if it was the first time we received it. If you do have a card saved and wish to use it. We can e-mail you the draft order we created and you can pay it online with any payment method you want.(Credit card, Amazon Pay, Google Pay or Paypal.
If you are still not sure you want to trust Shopify, we completely understand. That is why we also accept PayPal payments both credit card, and payments from verified accounts, as well as allowing you to checkout with your Amazon.com, or Google Pay account. Both PayPal and Amazon are highly regarded in the online world for secure payments. We still check and make sure everything passes before we process your order just to be safe. Every order we receive is reviewed by a person to ensure you get the correct parts you need. There is no automation between our website, and our internal systems. Sometimes we make mistakes when we copy your order over, but we would rather make an easy to fix mistake then ship you something you dont need.
A word about Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)
In this day and age, everyone is concerned that their online activity is being monitored, and a VPN is a great way to ensure no one is watching. However for online purchases it can cause False red flags on your order. One of the things Shopify checks for is if your IP address from your internet provider is in the general area of the billing address. They also make sure that the IP address is not on a list of IPs that is known to cause spam, scams or credit card fraud. In those cases, even if you are using the correct information, we may be asked to cancel your order because the IP address of your VPN is suspect. So PLEASE, turn off your VPN before you make your purchase. It will save a lot of time on our side of things, because we wont have to call you repeatedly, or e-mail you because we have to explain why your order was canceled. It can slow your order down by days while we find a way to accept your order, process, and ship.
If you have any other concerns, feel free to call, email or chat with us if you see us online. We are here to help and happy to answer any questions you have.