What Does PCI Stand For and How Does It Affect Your Business?

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pci compliance

Every business that wishes to accept business card payments should also attain PCI compliance. You can get PCI compliance to ensure your business becomes easy for people to trust.

PCI compliance covers your ability to handle card transactions. It involves safety and protection for your customers, plus it keeps you from being liable for any data losses. You can trust you’ll never have to worry about whatever changes might develop.

You will need to spend money on PCI compliance fees to ensure you can stay operational. The costs can vary, but it will be a worthwhile expense. You can show you’re capable of keeping things working well.

What Does PCI Mean?

PCI is short for the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. The PCI DSS standard is critical for the safety of all payment card transactions. The PCI DSS rules involve managing credit card payments in a secure environment to make it easy to follow.

The PCI DSS standards were established in 2006. Visa, MasterCard, and other major credit card companies joined together to establish these rules for operation. The focus was on helping merchants and groups that accept cardholder data follow the right rules for safety and data security. It is also about ensuring nothing wrong will develop.

The Main Standards For PCI Compliance

PCI compliance entails multiple standards for work:

  • A company must establish a secure network for operation. A firewall will protect consumer data while also using unique passwords outside of security parameters.
  • All cardholder data must be protected through encryption in public networks.
  • The management program must be vulnerable and easy to follow.
  • The company must also test networks to ensure everything works. All network resources must be monitored and tallied to ensure everything stays operational and ready for use.
  • Anti-virus software and other programs must be made available in one’s server and infrastructure. Such items can be gateways for whatever data arrives. The protection ensures everyone’s data stays safe without risking any possible losses when used right.
  • An information security policy must be ready.

These rules focus on giving your business the help it needs for handling financial transactions. You can talk with a merchant services provider for added details on all the things necessary for work.

Who Follows PCI Standards?

You must get PCI compliant if you plan on managing cardholder data. Any transaction where a customer pays with a credit or debit card will require a business to follow PCI DSS rules that they wish to manage.

PCI Compliance Requirements To Follow

The PCI compliance requirements you must follow will vary surrounding whatever you utilize. The standards vary surrounding the amount of money you process each year and how many transactions you can manage:

  • Businesses with less than $1 million in transactions or fewer than 20,000 online transactions in a year must complete an annual risk assessment and quarterly PCI scans.
  • You will require quarterly PCI scans and regular risk reviews if you manage from one to six million transactions per year.
  • Companies that support at least six million transactions per year must complete an annual internal audit. The effort goes alongside the quarterly PCI scans all businesses must follow.

Some individual credit card companies may also have separate requirements you must follow. Check with each card company you support to see what rules you need to follow and if you need to add something extra to keep things working well.

What Makes PCI Compliance So Essential?

PCI compliance is critical to your success due to how well you could be subject to a class action lawsuit if you aren’t PCI certified. A merchant that doesn’t use a PCI DSS compliant provider could be subject to fines of $10,000 per month. You could also be fined $500,000 for each event. You may also have your license for managing transactions revoked if you don’t take action soon enough.

You must especially be PCI compliant if you are a small business owner. These smaller entities tend to be the highest-risk ones. They don’t have as much of an infrastructure as other entities, making it all the more essential for them to manage PCI compliance.

About the PCI Compliance Fee

You might notice after you get PCI compliant that you are spending money on a PCI compliance fee each year. You might spend $100 or so for an annual fee, but some processing groups might charge you $10 to $20 per month. There are many reasons why you will pay the fee:

  • You might not comply with PCI DSS rules. The fee might suggest that the processor needs proof that your business is compliant and ready to work.
  • You might need to pay the fee to be eligible for data breach insurance. The insurance policy protects you against whatever losses you might experience due to a data breach in your business.
  • Your processor needs to interact with you and discuss your processing plans with you to ensure your work is running well. Your PCI compliance fee will cover the communications necessary with your processor to see you are handling your funds right.

Not all processors will charge PCI compliance fees. But you can expect to spend money on them at some point, as a processor will want to keep your business active and ready to handle different charge terms. Those who do not charge PCI compliance fees might still push that fee towards another expense you’d have to cover in your work.

A Final Note

PCI compliance is critical for every business to manage. You must meet PCI compliance rules to ensure you can safely handle credit and debit cards.

Talk with a merchant services provider today to see what a PCI compliance service can do and how it can help you with your business needs in mind. Your service provider can review your current infrastructure and see what you need to add when managing your work. The review process can help you see whatever fits for your plans.

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