What Is PCI DSS -- And Why Is It Critical?

As the payment industry continues to grow and the underlying technology evolves, there are more and more opportunities for data security breaches that can lead to criminal activity. Your customers' credit and debit card data represents a gold mine for thieves who are intent on hacking into your payment system to steal this sensitive information.

To help reduce data theft, basic security standards have been established that all businesses accepting credit and debit cards must observe. Following the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) will not only help you protect your customers' sensitive card data, but it will help shield your business from legal liability in the event of security breaches and potential fines for noncompliance with the PCI DSS.

The security procedures detailed in PCI DSS are requirements, not guidelines, for all businesses that accept credit and debit cards for payment. Businesses that do not validate compliance are subject to substantial fines, and may also be stripped of their ability to accept credit and debit cards in the future.

Read the PCI DSS Quick Reference Guide for a complete list of PCI DSS data security requirements.

Get more PCI DSS information for merchants at https://www.pcisecuritystandards.org/index.php

In addition, businesses must validate that they are in compliance with PCI DSS. PCI DSS validation requirements vary depending on the number of transactions processed annually and whether you accept cards in an eCommerce setting. It's important to become familiar with the specific requirements that apply to your business. Lastly, adoption of these requirements does not completely shield a merchant from legal liability.

Benefits of following PCI DSS protocols:

  • Helps protect your customers' sensitive card data.
  • Avoid fines and legal liability due to non-compliance.
  • Avoid potentially losing the ability to accept credit and debit cards due to non-compliance.
  • Exhibits the use of industry best practices for helping prevent data security breaches.