What is PCI Compliance

If you are a merchant or small business conducting credit card transactions online you will need to pay close attention to this article.

What is PCI compliance?

Let’s first understand what PCI is.  PCI stands for Payment Card Industry.  There is also an organization called the PCI Security Standards Council which was founded by American Express, Discover Financial Services, JCB International, MasterCard Worldwide, and Visa, Inc.  The purpose of this council is to provide security standards for handling data.

As a merchant conducting transactions online you have always needed to adhere to the PCI standards of the payment card brand you accept but as of January 2010 the standards  were upgraded significantly to require better security (due to the volume of identity theft, online fraud, and many other issues).

Why is compliance with these standards important?  Take a look at the prospective penalties you may incur if you have a security breach:

  • up to $100,000 in fines for a security breach