PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliance is the adherence to all the security procedures and protocols. These protocols ensure that the security of the transactions conducted over credit cards is upheld in the payment industries.
Credit cards are most vulnerable during transactions. It is at this point that the information carried on the card can get stolen or manipulated to conduct unwarranted activities. To ensure that the cardholders’ information is well protected, the PCI Security Standards Council came up with the PCI requirement to handle this need for protecting cardholders.
PCI compliance is a vital component in any credit card company’s security protocol. This compliance is mostly enforced by the credit card companies and discussed in the agreements by credit card networks.
The standards required for PCI compliance mostly apply to merchant transactions processing. The standards have also been on expansion to work for internet transactions and other encrypted transactions. National Automated Clearinghouse and the Card Association Network are also some of the entities that are involved in setting the PCI compliance standards.
What Does This Mean for Your Business?
If your business uses credit cards that means you have a merchant account service that handles all your payment processing. Looking at the merchant bill or the merchant contract, you might find that there are fees that you can’t clearly explain what they mean—batch fee, statement fee, PCI compliance fee, IRS fee etc.
The PCI security standards were created in 2006 by credit card companies JCB, Discover, MasterCard, Visa and American Express. You probably subscribe to one or several credit cards from these companies.
PCI compliance applies to organizations and merchants that transmit, accept and keep cardholder’s data. The PCI standards apply when a client pays with either the debit or the credit card. You will find that PCI requirements will differ with each merchant level and also the issuer of the card.
PCI compliance is very crucial to your business since it protects you, your customers and also your investments. If you offer merchant services without ensuring that you are PCI certified, you will probably face lots of class action lawsuits, fines that don’t go above $10,000 a month and also fines that don’t surpass the $500, 000 mark per incident. Apart from the fines, you will also face probable revocation of the ability to conduct transactions by the credit card companies.
If this happens to your business, apart from losing loyal customers, you will be faced with difficulties in keeping your merchant business afloat.
Small scale business owners sometimes tend to think that their businesses are too small to implement PCI compliance. If you are a small business owner, don’t let the size of your business convince you against getting PCI certified. These businesses are a significant risk if not certified for PCI compliance. Non-compliance will cause a significant degree of harm to your business, and you might also find yourself involved in constant court battles.
PCI Compliance Fees
PCI compliance fees are the charges you pay in the form of an annual fee or a monthly fee. Apart from these fees, your processor will charge you other fees for:
• Non-compliance: You will probably find that the PCI compliance fee you get charged is for not complying. Following the PCI DSS standards, if you are a business that does not comply with PCI requirements, your processor will charge non-compliance fees.
• Insurance for a data breach: Your processor could be offering insurance on possible data breaches that might happen. However, it is important to understand that you will be paying for insurance that you might not claim. Therefore, it is important to find out if you can claim the data breach insurance. If you can’t, it is time to find yourself a better payment processor for yourself.
• Compliance: While ensuring that you keep your business PCI compliant, this is the fee you pay for certification on PCI compliance. When you pay the fee, your processor also ensures that you get adequate support and protection from any form of mishaps.
Since you now understand what PCI compliant means, you now understand what it means for your business. Therefore, it is better to always be safe while protecting those who transact with you.