6 basic things small businesses can do for online security.

Apr 11 2018 | PayPal editorial staff

Managing your personal and financial identity online is extremely important. 
While attempts to hijack or overcome technology in order to defraud people and businesses are evolving quickly, there are still certain steps you can take to help protect your online security and your business.  

1. Don’t send sensitive personal or financial information via email.
This includes account numbers, credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, passwords and logins, and more. If you need to provide the information, do it over the phone.

2. Enable automatic updates for your applications and software to prevent malware.
Popular applications and operating system software are complex and often have minor bugs - making them targets for hackers. Some examples include:
  • Web browsers like Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox and Safari
  • Microsoft Office
  • Adobe Reader
  • Adobe Flash Player
Hackers often find and exploit bugs to install malicious software, also known as malware. Fortunately, most device makers and application developers provide regular updates to operating systems and applications.

Even so, the catch is: when security updates are published, the software company and developers usually indicate the issues they’ve addressed. Hackers, who were previously unaware of the software issue, may now choose to focus on the software or application to exploit other vulnerabilities.
It’s always a good idea to keep your system up-to-date with the latest releases. The easiest way to do that is to enable automatic updates for your system and applications when possible. Normally this is managed through the Control Panel on Windows and under Preferences on MacOS.

3. Don’t forget about OS updates, using anti-virus software, and enabling auto updates for both.
Just like a human virus, software viruses and other malware can spread in many ways, and it won’t always be clear how it got onto your system. Along with exercising caution, we recommend using an anti-virus software, which can help protect you by detecting and addressing known malware on your system.
If enabled, most anti-virus software are capable of running scheduled scans and checking incoming emails for malware to help prevent them from being downloaded into your system. Historically, malware has been associated with personal computer systems, but are now common on portable electronic devices such as tablets and smartphones. Also consider anti-virus protection for your tablet and smartphone.
Tip: Automatic OS updates are managed through the Control Panel on Windows and under Preferences on MacOS.

4. Don’t click on suspicious links.
Especially beware of things that seem too good to be true including:
  • Free downloads. Malware are often embedded within other software programs and some malware masquerades as a game or screen saver, just waiting for you to install it. Watch out for these “freebies.” 
  • Unexplained “virus detected” messages. Another common strategy is the fake virus test. You get a message saying there’s a problem and it prompts you to download software to ‘fix it’, but the software could contain malware.
  • Email attachments. If you receive an unexpected email from someone with an attachment, be suspicious. If the email has only a short, non-personal message like “This is funny!” with an attachment, be even more suspicious. Check the sender’s email address if you’re in doubt. If you’re still skeptical, but think you need to see the attachment, call the sender and ask. You may find that the sender’s email account was hacked and is now being used to send out malicious SPAM. 
5. Create unique, secure passwords.
This includes:
  • Using a combination of special characters, letters, and numbers and;
  • Using unique passwords for multiple accounts
For more information, read this article on how to create and manage passwords for security.

6. Check all partner company’s security measures.
If you’re sharing personal or financial information with a company, you should always understand the security measures they take to protect your data. For example, PayPal uses industry standard data encryption to help keep your sensitive information and email communications secure. Learn what else PayPal does to protect the personal and financial information of our more than 200 million account holders.
You can also access additional information about protecting your online security by reviewing our FAQs at the bottom of this page.


The contents of this site are provided for informational purposes only. You should always obtain independent, professional accounting, financial, and legal advice before making any business decision.

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Frequently asked questions.

PayPal Payments Standard is the easiest way to securely accept debit and credit cards, PayPal and PayPal Credit. It takes the hassle out of accepting payments online. You handle the sales. We handle everything from the checkout process to security and mobile compatibility. Plus:
  • No advanced programming is needed.
  • Your customers don’t need a PayPal account to pay you.
  • It’s optimized for customers on smartphones or tablets.
And unlike many full payment-processing solutions, PayPal Payments Standard has no application, setup or monthly fees, or long-term commitments. You start paying when you start selling.

What can I do with PayPal Payments Standard?

PayPal Payments Standard lets you accept credit and debit cards on your website or through an online marketplace such as eBay or Etsy. Buying is straightforward: We handle the checkout process and then send customers back to your site. Fees are a flat amount per transaction, so selling is just as simple. To see all discounts and fees, take a look at our fees page.

You can use PayPal Payments Standard to send invoices online too, so you can get paid sooner. For offline payments, you can add PayPal Here, a mobile payments solution, to your account to let you take payments on the go using your smartphone or tablet. (alternate rates apply).

With PayPal Payments Standard, you’re also eligible to apply for the free PayPal Business Debit MasterCard®.

As with all of our payment solutions, PayPal Payments Standard helps protect your business with our Automatic Fraud Screening, industry-leading data security and reliable customer service.

Get Started Now.
*The feature is only available for Business accounts.

As the primary user of your PayPal account, only you can access the password section in the account settings and change the password for your secondary users.

For your account security, If a secondary user contacts PayPal, we are not able to assist them with changing the password on the account. 

Here's how to change your alias or secondary user password in a Business account:
  1. Click the Settings icon next to "Log out."
  2. Click Account access under "Account & Security" on the left of the page.
  3. Click Update next to "Manage Users."
  4. Click View on the alias name
  5. Select Edit next to Personal Information.
  6. Click Change Password.
  7. Enter a new password and click Continue.


Here's how to set or change your PayPal Business Debit Mastercard® PIN number:

  1. Click your PayPal Business Debit Mastercard® icon on the left side of your Summary page.
  2. Click on the "Set PIN" link icon under Card Settings.
  3. Enter and confirm your 4 digit PIN and then click Change PIN.
Tip: For security purposes, our customer service representatives are unable to reset your PayPal Business Debit Mastercard PIN.
We’re sorry we couldn’t complete this payment. To protect you and your account, our security program reviews every payment before it’s approved. For safety reasons, the program has declined your [PayPal Cash Card/PayPal Business Debit Card] for this payment. You can log in to your PayPal account and choose to pay directly via the bank. 

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