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GDPR and online transactions

The GDPR [Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC – General Data Protection Regulation] is a law that regulates the processing of personal data. It was approved by the European Union (EU) in 2016 and went into effect on 25 May 2018. The scope of the GDPR is to modernize and harmonize the data protection rules across the EU. The GDPR regulates the processing by an individual (don’t apply to data processed by an individual for purely personal reasons or for activities carried out in one’s home, provided there is no connection to a professional or commercial activity), a company or an organisation of personal data relating to individuals in the EU.

The needs of consumers have always been what’s drive evolution in commerce. The popularity of e-commerce has exploded in last years. E-commerce is one of the most popular ways that people shop. However, e-commerce can present challenges for businesses. An important challenge that e-commerce businesses face is the protection of personal data of customers. With the increasing digitisation of transactions and the collection of personal data online, risks associated with processing personal data are becoming higher. Risks include, among others, the unauthorised access to personal data, breaches concerning personal data, identity theft and financial information theft.

In the context of e-commerce, GDPR is highly important as it governs how businesses process (collect, store, use, transfer, destroy) customers’ personal data. This is a very important aspect of online transactions and customers’ relationships.

Protect personal data in online transactions

Online transactions are very susceptible to personal data breaches. It’s vital for a business to protect the personal data in process, which fraudsters could use to commit crimes against the business and individuals.

A business offering e-commerce is exposed daily to a arrange of fraud risks like money laundering, financial information theft, etc. E-commerce businesses should apply secure payment processing methods in order to analyse online transactions, monitor for suspicious activity and detect a possible fraud.

Businesses are required to clearly inform customers about how their personal data will be processed. Privacy policies and consent forms should be provided to customers with the aim to describe in detail the purposes for which personal data will be processed and informing for the processing of personal data for accepting online payments.

Businesses must implement customer authentication standards which enhance the security of online payments, e.g. the implementation of multi-factor authentication.

Compliance with GDPR when accepting online payments

  • Conduct a “personal data audit” to identify the personal data being processed.
  • Review privacy policies and procedures and ensure that are in line with GDPR requirements.
  • Obtain, where is needed, the explicit consent from customers for processing their personal data.
  • Implement the necessary mechanisms for customers to exercise their rights under GDPR.
  • Regularly review the implemented security measures for the protection of personal data. These security measures can be encryption, pseudonymisation, access controls, regular data backups.
  • Implement response plans to promptly response and mitigate any personal data breaches or incidents relating to the security of personal data.
  • Apply an employee GDPR awareness training program and regularly train employees for the personal data processing activities of the business. Educate employees on the different types of fraud and scams that they may encounter and how to identify and respond to them.
  • Design and implement a proper description plan for the destruction of personal data that is not needed to be stored.
  • Address any emerging challenges related to the use of algorithms, artificial intelligence, data analytics and profiling in the e-commerce, for the protection of personal data.
  • Ensure that the website platform in use is secured by keeping software and plug-ins up to date, require customers to use strong passwords, use firewall to protect unauthorised access, use antivirus systems, use the services of trustful online payment service providers.

Offering e-commerce and accepting online payments involves several parties, including the payment gateway, the acquiring bank, the issuing bank, the card network and the e-commerce merchant, which all work together to make certain that online payments are made quickly and securely. The fact that there are several parties in the transaction processing means that personal data is shared among many parties, making this a challenge to the protection of personal data.

The risk of data breaches and privacy violations increases with online transactions. Compliance with the GDPR requirements will continue to be of utmost importance in the evolving e-commerce landscape. Compliance in online transactions for a business can enhance customer trust and confidence in the business, leading to increased customer loyalty and repeat purchases. E-commerce businesses must ensure that using customers’ personal data to deliver online transactions, personalised marketing and customer experience are essential for driving customer engagement and conversion.

Looking to enhance your knowledge and learn new skills on GDPR?

▶️Click HERE to find online self-paced seminars on GDPR topics.

▶️Click HERE to find Templates (in English language) of Policies and Programs that You can easily use to develop Your Company’s policies and programs.

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