The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a set of evolving guidelines designed to keep sensitive financial information safe. Credit card abuse is on the rise worldwide — especially online, and merchants are responsible for safeguarding all of the card data that enters their systems.
However, becoming (and remaining) PCI compliant isn't always easy.
As thieves develop more inventive strategies for stealing credit card information, these data security standards become more stringent. PCI DSS 3.1 is the most current version out there, and there will be more updates in the future.
Although PCI compliance is challenging, it isn't impossible. Below are five of the most important details every merchant should keep in mind when dealing with credit cards.
1. Noncompliance Will Cost You
PCI compliance isn't something you can sweep under the rug. Banks and processors are fined if their clients don't follow the rules, and they’ll pass these fees to you — the merchant.
Even if you’re prepared to absorb these extra fees, you'll likely pay in other ways. Hidden costs include:
- Diminished consumer confidence. You’ll have a much harder time selling your products and services if you can't provide customers with a safe shopping experience.
- Extra paperwork (and lost time). PCI compliance isn't just a set of rules. It is a system for making your payment environment more secure. If you aren’t PCI compliant, prepare yourself for paperwork, legal hassles and phone calls — activities that take you away from your core business.
2. Ignorance Isn't an Excuse
Your payment processor should work closely with you to ensure you remain PCI compliant. Yet ultimately, it is your responsibility to remain abreast of all the rules and regulations.
3. Self-Assessments Are Essential
To remain compliant, you must conduct periodic audits of your payment environment. These self-assessments are used to focus exclusively on obvious security holes like POS terminals or payment gateways. They now take into account:
- How you store customer data within your business
- How your employees are educated and trained on security
- How vendors and suppliers within your network handle data
Don't rush these audits. Although sometimes cumbersome, these assessments can save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
4. PCI Compliance Requires Action
As a merchant, you must take proactive steps to ensure that your payment environment remains secure. At BluePay, we offer a number of advanced tools to help minimize your risk, including:
- Point-to-point encryption (P2PE)
- Secure hosted payment pages
- Card Verification Values (CVV)
The more of these strategies you incorporate into your payment system, the easier PCI compliance becomes.
5. PCI Compliance Isn't a Solo Journey
Compliance isn't easy, but we view credit card security as a shared responsibility. As your payment processor, we're here to guide you every step of the way, helping you with:
- Conducting periodic assessments
- Integrating security into your account
- Staying abreast of PCI DSS updates
To learn how we can help you navigate the PCI landscape, schedule a free appointment with our payment security team today.