05 June 2009

6 Important Facts about a PCI

A Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard or  PCI DSS is known by the following facts: on its purpose; on its administrators; on its applicability; on its accessibility; on its compliance levels;  and, on its penalties for non-compliance.

Complying to the PCI guidelines is a very complicated and always growing issue that greatly affects various types of businesses. It is designed to handle security standards in terms of providing safe process for credit card payment transactions. Find out the basic facts about PCI DSS to have a clearer understanding of its totality:

On its purpose

A PCI DSS is a set of requisites that is designed to ensure that companies involve in the processing, storing, and transmitting of pertinent credit card data would support a secured and safe environment. Its purpose is to manage well the whole transaction process excellently.

On its administrators

The PCI SSC, an independent entity, manages and administers the PCI DSS. This body was created by major card brands like MasterCard, Visa, JCB, American Express, and Discover.

On its applicability

The PCI is applicable to all merchants that is part in the acceptance, transmittance and storage of every card holder's information. This is applicable regardless of the volume of the transactions.

On its accessibility

You can have access to these standards by searching through their Web site,  www.pcisecuritystandards.org, and learn more about how these standards can benefit every card user in using a debit or credit card as a payment for any transaction.

On its compliance levels

Every merchant will belong to any one out of four of the merchant levels. The basis would be the volume of Visa transactions from a merchant DBA or 'Doing Business As'. This is including prepaid, debit and credit transactions.  Visa defines merchant levels in this manner:

  • Merchant level 1 - a merchant, no matter what type of channel it uses in the acceptance of transactions, that has processed more than 6 million Visa transactions annually.
  • Merchant level 2 - a merchant that processed between 1 million to 6 million Visa transactions annually.
  • Merchant level 3 - a merchant which has processed 20,000 to 1 million Visa transactions per year.
  • Merchant level 4 - a merchant processing less than 20,000 Visa transactions per year.

On its penalties for non-compliance

Penalties for non-compliance would depend on the discretion of every payment brand. A payment brand may fine the acquiring bank between $ 5,000 to $ 100,000 for every month for violations of the PCI compliance.

Although, the PCI compliance fees are greatly soaring high, yet, you can still look for merchant accounts that have no PCI compliance fee. It only takes a matter of thorough research for the best choice of a merchant account.

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