As long as you store, process, or transmit credit card data, you need to understand PCI DSS compliance, and how it impacts your business.
What Is PCI DSS?
The PCI DSS stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. It is a number of security regulations designed to protect sensitive credit card information from being compromised. The standard is regulated by the PCI Security Standards Council, which includes all major credit card issuers.
What Purpose Does PCI DSS Serve?
PCI DSS compliance is important for any business that processes, stores, or transmits credit card information. The PCI DSS was created to reduce fraudulent activity involving credit cards, and to protect businesses and consumers from the financial losses that can result from data breaches.
In addition, PCI DSS also helps minimize the risk of sensitive data breaches by providing a set of security standards that businesses can follow. By adhering to these standards, companies can help ensure that their systems are secure and that their customers' credit card and personal information are protected.
Who Requires PCI DSS Compliance?
PCI DSS compliance is required for all businesses that process, store, or transmit credit card information. This includes online businesses, brick-and-mortar stores, and any other type of business that accepts credit cards. PCI compliance is also required for any service provider that handles credit card information.
Is PCI DSS Compliance Optional?
PCI compliance is not optional. Although the standard is not a Federal law in the United States, some states have laws that require businesses to comply with PCI DSS. In addition, PCI compliance is required by the major credit card issuers. Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover require businesses to be PCI compliant to accept their cards.
What Are the Consequences of Non-Compliant Businesses?
If a business is not PCI compliant and suffers a data breach, they will suffer several consequences.
The PCI Security Standards Council can fine businesses that are not PCI compliant. The size of the fine depends on the severity of the data breach; the amount can reach $500,000 per incident.
Monthly Penalties by Card Issuers
If a business is not PCI compliant and suffers a data breach, the credit card issuers can also impose monthly penalties. These fees are typically much smaller than PCI fines. Still, they can accumulate between $5,000 to $100,000 per month, depending on the company's size, the severity of the security breach, and the duration of the non-compliance.
Another consequence of not being PCI compliant is that businesses can be sued by their customers. If a customer's credit card information is stolen in a data breach, they may sue the business for damages. These lawsuits can be expensive and severely damage a business's reputation.
PCI compliance is important for any business that processes, stores, or transmits credit card information. It reduces fraudulent activity involving credit cards, and protects businesses and consumers from the financial losses resulting from data breaches. By adhering to these standards, businesses can help ensure that their systems are secure and that their customers' credit card and personal information are protected.