BPS allows you to pay for purchases online by using your MasterCard, Visa, Diners Club, and American Express credit cards. Because some people have concerns about providing their credit card numbers over the Internet, we have provided some answers to common questions.
Is it safe to provide my credit card account numbers over the Internet?
We believe that it is safe to provide your credit card account number over the Internet. All transfer of your payment information, including credit card handling, is done through a secure server using the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol. This allows your browser to encode any data it sends to our server, so that even if someone intercepted your information as it traveled across the Internet they wouldn’t be able to read it.
We have a “server certificate” issued to us by VeriSign, the SSL certificate authority on the Internet. They are a trusted third party authenticator. This certificate verifies that you are really sending your credit card number to us, and not someone pretending to be us. It is standard SSL procedure to get a certificate, usually from VeriSign.
I think that’s okay, but I’m still not 100% convinced.
In the unlikely event that unauthorized use of your credit card occurs, follow the reporting procedures that your credit card provider has set up and contact us immediately by phone at 202-429-7591. Federal law limits your responsibility for unauthorized charges to U.S. $50.00 (the maximum liability allowed under the Fair Credit Billing Act. For more information on the Fair Credit Billing Act, visit the Federal Trade Commission website).
How do I know if a website is secure?
When you buy something on the Internet, look for three things:
- All data you transmit is strongly encrypted.
- The site you’re doing business with is the site you think it is.
- The site you’re doing business with processes your credit card information in a safe and responsible manner.
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), the industry-standard security protocol that the BPS website uses to communicate with secure browsers, takes care of the first two items. When communicating with a secure server like ours, these browsers encrypt the information you send in a way that is extremely difficult for anyone else to decode. If you are not sure whether your browser supports secure transactions, don’t worry. If it doesn’t, you won’t be able to complete the transaction. You should also look for a visual image (generally a lock) that indicates a secure site.
Once your order is received, we take care to keep your information confidential in the same ways that we as consumers want our information secured.
How do I know I’m in a secure area of the website?
There are several ways to confirm that you’re in a secure area. All SSL-capable browsers have a symbol to indicate the secure mode
You can also tell when you’re in a secure area because the URL to the left of the colon changes from “http” to “https” to signify that a SSL protocol is being used to communicate with the server. (http means HyperText Transport Protocol; https means HTTP with SSL.) In most browsers, you’ll also see a solid blue line in the upper portion of the browser’s window. This additional visual cue tells you that you are browsing a secure area.
One additional note: Some browsers give you a warning when you go from a secure area to a regular area. The aim is worthy enough—to ensure that people know when they’ve left a secure server. But in practice, the message is often a bit startling, and makes it look like you’ve done something wrong even though you really haven’t.
Why are some areas secure and others aren’t?
Most of the activity on our site involves the viewing of materials we’ve prepared and made accessible to everyone, so there’s no need for these pages to be “secure”. With a product page or a help page, for example, there is no security risk because no confidential information is being exchanged. Anyone can access the same pages by pointing their browser to the BPS website.
The part of the BPS website that has extra security is the log in area. This is where you actually purchase services from our site. The entire checkout process takes place in a secure environment.
I understand your explanation but are there alternatives to online transactions?
Certainly! You may contact us by phone Monday through Friday (except holidays) during business hours (8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time) or by fax with your credit card information.
Please remember that you play a valuable part in security as well. Your password to access your account should never be shared with anyone and should be changed frequently. After you are finished using our site, you should log off and exit your browser so no unauthorized persons can use the site with your name and your BPS website account information.
Furthermore, if you provide any information to parties who operate websites that are linked to or from our site, different rules may apply to their collection, use, or disclosure of your personal information. We encourage you to review these sites’ policies before revealing any sensitive or personal information.
If you have any additional questions don’t hesitate to contact us:
Board of Pharmacy Specialties
2215 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20037-2985