Why PCI Compliance is Important for Businesses

With online payment processing becoming the name of the game in selling products and services during the COVID quarantine, businesses need to know the rules and regulations related to online transactions. Staying compliant with the Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards is essential to transacting payments in the 21st century.

The PCI standards are determined by the credit card companies (Visa and MasterCard). It is not punishable through criminal statutes, but failure to maintain PCI compliance can result in a fine that can be imposed by your payment processor. It also can prevent your business from being shielded from legal liability in the event that your company is the victim of a fraudulent transaction. The reason the PCI standards exist is in order to protect customers from unprotected payment services that don’t take basic precautions to secure the payment process.

Any business with an online merchant account needs to know how PCI compliance works and how to stay compliant in order to protect its customers and the reputation of their business.

Define PCI Compliance

The PCI standards are a set of guidelines designed to protect customers during eCommerce transactions from websites that otherwise might not have minimum protective measures in place. An online merchant account provider can offer services that protect customers with security technology and software optimized for safety.

Any time a website transfers a customer’s card information, the information is stored on the business’s servers. While it’s there, it runs the risk of being hacked. This is one reason that the PCI requirements include standards for encrypted transactions, so that cardholders’ PINs are not visible on the company’s servers.

In addition, restricted server access and firewall technology remain important parts of integrated eCommerce technology available through internet merchant account providers. These measures help to ensure that high volume payment processing doesn’t result in a business being hacked or losing its customers’ valuable financial information.

How to Remain PCI Compliant

Merchant account providers can offer some firewall and software protection services, but it’s ultimately the responsibility of individual businesses to protect their data. One step they can take toward doing this is to change default passwords. It’s one of the easiest–and most important–steps involved in increasing protection and remaining PCI-compliant. Company network access comes with a default password that can be easily hacked. Generating a strong alternative that only a few people know, and changing it as soon as possible, is a simple and important way to improve security.

This can be instrumental in avoiding an identity fraud situation related to an online store. A fraud involving your website can not only result in a loss of consumer trust, but it can also have potential legal ramifications.

The Takeaway

In the 21st century, online businesses are responsible for the safety of their cardholders’ information. The guidelines that define this responsibility are largely contained in the PCI standards. Though it isn’t part of the criminal law, it can have legal ramifications in cases of identity theft occurring on a website that maintains incomplete security measures.

Visit Charge.com or call (888) 924-2743 to see options for products and services in online merchant accounts and to learn more about how to keep any business PCI-compliant.

Leave a Comment