As a merchant, if you want to have a merchant account, you need to comply with PCI DSS. Before we get into explaining why it is necessary to do so, let us first explain what it stands for. PCI DSS stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard.
The increasing usage of credit cards is no more a breaking story. A rapidly growing upsurge in the credit card industry was seen in the very start of the nineties. By the early 2000s, almost every other citizen in the US had a credit card and credit card purchases were a norm. In the mid 2000s, the amount of credit card payments started to exceed the number of payments made in cash. Taking advantage of this situation, an army of credit card hackers attacked and took over, and many of the big companies fell victim to their fraud.
People were so used to the convenience of using plastic that there was no way of turning back to cash. To deal with such fraud and to make credit card usage safer for consumers, PCI DSS were introduced. All businesses, no matter the size, which accept credit card payments, need to comply with these strict security standards. These security standards, PCI DSS, are drawn by the major players in the credit card industry including MasterCard and Visa.
Complying with PCI DSS means you must follow the strict standards set by these companies. These standards require the merchant to build and maintain a secure network, protect the card holder data, maintain vulnerability management measures, monitor and test networks and maintain an information security Policy.
PCI DSS is a standard that is mandated, but many small businesses avoid it completely. The truth is that smaller businesses are equally as vulnerable to frauds as bigger businesses are. It is also not a nerve wrecking procedure as you might think it is. Moreover, it has several benefits as well.
Compliance with PCI DSS makes your system more secure regarding the card information. Not only does it protect your business, it also gives a sense of trust and security in your customers. The importance of building trust in business is no secret to merchants anymore.
Being PCI DSS compliant helps you in being a partner in a constant war against data theft and security threats. PCI keeps updating and evolving their rules and policies as new threats keep arising everyday. Once you are compliant with PCI DSS, it becomes easier to stay abreast to the always changing security threats.
Some merchants are of the opinion that data security breaches are not their headache. On the contrary, they can equally be as dangerous for you as they are for the card bearer. Failure to comply with PCI Compliance can result in heavy fines and penalties can and have put many businesses out of business for good. Not adhering to these standards can leave you vulnerable to data theft and as a consequence you might more than fines and penalties such as face lawsuits, insurance claims, and the loss of the ability to accept credit cards. More than anything, you lose your potential customers and their trust. So, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Many merchants believe if they process with a credit card terminal that they are in PCI compliance. However, that is not the case. Merchants need to complete a SAQ (Self Assessment Questionnaire) which is a form containing a series of questions pertaining to how the merchant secures paperwork and who has access to this sensitive information. Employee theft is rampant and merchants usually do not realize the extent of employee theft until it is too late and the losses have occurred.
The importance of taking the time to ensure your business is in PCI Compliance can be the difference in being in or out of business. It does not take long and if you need assistance, we provide easy to follow step by step instructions and guide on how to complete the paperwork. The paperwork takes about ten minutes and most processors attach a $19.95 monthly fee to your merchant statement if your business has not completed the compliance requirements within 90 days of annual notification.