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have a separate application that runs on the desktop to view orders, etc.
There are a lot of things to take into consideration.
Secure String values are stored encrypted (obfuscated, rather), but most importantly, they are never swapped to disk and can be disposed of immediately when you're done with them.
Secure String's use is in reducing the surface-area of attack by limiting the number of copies the Garbage Collector will make of the value, and reducing the likelihood of being written to the swap file. Having said that look at the cell level encryption available in SQL Server 2005 and above.Its only implied Payment providers can provide programmatic APIs to your merchant account and the ability to attempt a re-auth on a declined attempt. Scenario 1: Assuming all i said is true You don't have to store anything but a reference to the authorization attempt.i think @bashmohandes eluded to this earlier Not all payment providers can do this however i think its dependent on their relationships with the banks involved. Some payment providers even give you a sweet backoffice tool so you dont have to make your own to do re-auths.My question, then, is how I can securely store a credit card for a short period of time.I obviously want some kind of encryption, but what's the best way to do this? Basically avoid by all means taking the responsiblity to save the CC details on your side, however I can assume you are using a thirdparty service to do your transaction such as Pay Pal/Verisign or whatever, most of them have API's that enables you to save CC credentials at their side, and they give you back a key that you can then use later to complete or initiate transactions, so they take care of the hard part, while all what you have to do is store this string key in your DB.