What is PCI Compliance?

By | September 9, 2011

Any business that accepts credit cards from their customers must make sure they are PCI Compliant to ensure the safety of their customers’ personal information. PCI Compliance is the industry standard that businesses must meet if they intend to accept credit cards. The PCI Council was created in 2006 when the major credit card companies joined together to establish guidelines for increased credit card security.

How to Become PCI Compliant

As a business owner accepting credit cards, you must meet the following requirements to become compliant:

  • Create and maintain secure network to accept credit cards from customers, so that payment information cannot be intercepted as it travels over the network to the credit card processing company. You must encrypt all customer credit card details and personal information as it travels over the network.
  • Restrict access to customer data so that only employees who must have access to the information do.
  • Regularly test your system to ensure it is still as secure as possible, and perform updates as necessary to keep your system up to date at all times. Hackers spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to break through secure systems to get to credit card details; you must be prepared to stay one step ahead of them to keep your customer data safe.

Why Should You Become PCI Compliant?

If becoming PCI Compliant seems like too much of a headache – consider what can happen to business owners who accept credit cards without following PCI compliance standards:

  • Can be sued when customer data is accessed by dishonest employees or hackers.
  • Face expensive fines.
  • Lose customers who are not confident their information is safe on your network and decide to shop with the competition instead.
  • Losing your merchant account/ability to accept credit cards.
  • Ultimately losing your business entirely.

If business owners accepting credit cards meet all requirements under PCI Compliance, then credit card holders are protected at the highest level for identity theft; credit card systems are monitored to ensure ongoing security; and business owners will develop and maintain quality networks to accept credit card payments.

About the author: David Rodwell is a seasoned writer in on all things financial, including credit card processing and digital security. You can find more of his articles at CreditCardProcessing.net.