What Is PCI Compliance?
As a business owner, particularly if you accept credit card payments, you must understand PCI compliance because it is vital to your business. Being PCI compliant not only means that you are minimizing the chance of your customers’ financial data being stolen, but it also can help you avoid costly fines and even lawsuits. While it can be intimidating for small businesses to understand and meet PCI compliance requirements, you should know the basics and what is expected of your business.
In 2006, the largest credit card companies formed the PCI Standards Council to establish criteria for any company that deals with credit card transactions to keep customer data secure. PCI compliance refers to ensuring that your business has met all the required processes and procedures laid out by the council to ensure customer credit card information integrity.
By ensuring that you are following PCI standards, you greatly reduce the chance of having your customer data stolen.
Does PCI compliance apply to my business?
If your business processes payments via credit cards, then yes, you’re required to be PCI compliant by your card processing agreement.
What happens if I don’t comply with PCI standards?
Failure to meet PCI Compliance standards can be ruinous for a small business. While PCI compliance is not mandated by law, your card processing agreement requires that you meet the standards if you process credit card transactions.
You could be liable for fines, credit card replacement costs, or forensic audits. In addition to fines, your bank or processing provider could terminate your relationship, meaning you won’t be able to process payments, or the bank could charge you higher processing fees. Your bank could be fined if you are found to not comply with PCI standards. Depending on your agreement, those fines can likely be passed onto you.
Not only that, but the reputation hit your business can suffer from exposing customer data could be devastating.
What does PCI compliance entail?
The actions and processes for ensuring PCI compliance depend on several factors. There are four possible “Merchant Levels” a business will be categorized into, determined by the number of credit card transactions taking place yearly. Merchant Levels range from 1-4, with businesses processing fewer than 20,000 transactions being Level 4 while Level 1 merchants process more than 6 million transactions.
Regardless of the Merchant Level, PCI compliance is organized into 6 major objectives:
- Build and Maintain a Secure Network
- Protect Cardholder Data
- Maintain a Vulnerability Management Program
- Implement Strong Access Control Measures
- Regularly Monitor and Test Networks
- Maintain an Information Security Policy
These objectives include 12 key requirements, 7 base requirements, and more than 400 test procedures. Meeting these criteria can be daunting for a small business owner.
Let us help you with your PCI compliance needs.
No matter your business’s size, it is vital that if you process credit card information, you meet PCI compliance standards. If an incident were to happen, and you were found to be not in compliance, the consequences could be ruinous to your business.
By ensuring you are PCI compliant, you could be saving an enormous amount of money in the long run. Failing to meet PCI standards exposes you to fines and lawsuits, not to mention the implications for your business reputation and the damage done to affected customers. PCI compliance can be intimidating for small business owners, but it’s key that you do it.
TREYSTA is here to meet your PCI compliance needs and secure the integrity of your customers’ data.
Contact us today to learn how we can help you meet PCI compliance requirements.