Is PCI Compliance Mandatory? What Businesses Should Know

The PCI requirements are designed to protect customers who trust businesses with their financial information. Businesses may be concerned about the PCI requirements, wondering if PCI compliance is mandatory. Customers may also be wondering if other online merchants follow these guidelines.

No matter the size of the business, payment security is an essential factor in maintaining any business’s credibility. If a business accepts credit cards, debit cards, echecks, or any other eCommerce payment methods on their website, the business owner should be aware of how PCI compliance can affect their legal status and the extent to which it can protect them and their customers from fraud.

Face-to-face transactions are no longer the norm during the coronavirus lockdown. Accordingly, the applications of the PCI requirements are even more essential to understand. Customers will be looking for merchants that comply with basic security standards. Businesses should be looking out for their customers when processing their sensitive financial information.

Define PCI Compliance

Any business asking “Is PCI compliance mandatory?” needs to know what the PCI requirements are and what they are not. The PCI standards are a set of guidelines set forth by the credit card companies (MasterCard and Visa). They outline security, firewall, and other online procedures that serve as a minimum for what online merchants are expected to have in place when using their internet merchant account to process their customers’ payments.

The PCI requirements are not enforced by criminal law. Businesses can’t be subject to criminal penalties for not complying. However, the PCI requirements define the responsibility of a business to protect its customers’ information. Businesses can be held liable for damages in cases of fraud or identity theft on their servers in the event that the merchant was not in compliance with the PCI requirements. Additionally, failure to comply with the PCI standards can result in fines being imposed by the business’s payment processor.

How to Stay PCI-Compliant

One of the easiest first steps to make in order to become PCI compliant is to change the default access password for the merchant account. When a merchant account provider offers products and services to a business, the default passwords are meant to be changed right away into something unique, and ideally randomly generated. This makes the customers’ data more difficult to hack.

Effective passwords are a great line of defense, as well as automatically updated security software, multiple layers of identification, and the best firewalls.

The Takeaway

Any business that accepts or plans on accepting credit, debit, or any ecommerce payment method will require an internet merchant account. These are subject to the PCI requirements. Though it isn’t mandatory law, PCI requirements protect customers from negligent business practices, and they help protect merchants from liability for fraudulent transactions.

Visit or call (888) 924-2743 to find out how products and services related to internet merchant accounts can help businesses remain compliant with PCI law.

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