Your customers value their data security. Even if they suffer no direct financial consequences from having their credit card information stolen, they still may have to spend hours on the phone with their credit card company, file a 90-day fraud alert and feel the sting of having their privacy invaded.
Needless to say, your customers want to know that you’re doing everything possible to protect their payment data. A data breach at your business could lead to a loss of customer trust and a decline in sales.
Achieving PCI compliance is a great way to ensure that you’re providing robust data security for your customers. Plus, it helps your business to avoid PCI compliance fines.
About PCI Compliance Fines
The major card brands set up PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) to ensure that businesses do everything possible to protect their customers’ payment data security. While it’s not required by law to comply with this standard, non-compliance carries serious financial risks.
If your business is non-compliant, your risk of a data breach is significantly higher. In addition to the loss of customer trust, data breaches could lead to significant forensic audit and card replacement costs. Additionally, the card brands may fine your acquiring bank between $5,000 and $100,000 per month. Inevitably, those fines are passed on to merchants. It’s important to note that card brands could fine businesses for non-compliance even if they do not experience a breach.
If your business has not achieved PCI compliance, start by taking these steps.
#1. Get Your Data Security In Order
Providing robust data security is the most important aspect of becoming PCI compliant. Make sure you use strong passwords, store data in secure places, install a firewall and limit access to customer payment data. You should also use payment technology that encrypts and tokenizes customers’ data as it’s being transmitted to your processor or acquiring bank.
#2. Talk To Your Merchant Services Or Payment Processing Provider
Call your merchant services or payment processing provider and let them know you want to achieve PCI compliance as soon as possible. Your provider should then ask you a series of questions about your data security, offer recommendations for further actions on data security and provide referrals. Next, your provider should help you acquire the necessary payment technology to secure your payment data, and then identify your merchant level and PCI DSS validation type.
#3. Go Through The PCI Compliance Process
The PCI compliance process requires that you fill out some forms and possibly submit to a scan. First, you fill out your PCI Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ). This questionnaire asks you a series of questions about your business’s data security. Your PCI DSS validation type determines the specific SAQ you take.
Depending on your validation type, you may have to go through a vulnerability scan conducted by a PCI-Approved Scanning Vendor. This vendor reviews your data security measures to determine whether your data is sufficiently protected. Your credit card processing or merchant services company should be able to recommend a vendor to conduct your scan.
Finally, fill out the PCI Attestation of Compliance. This form simply certifies that the information you’ve provided in the other forms is true. Next, you send your SAQ, proof of passing the vulnerability scan and your Attestation of Compliance to your acquiring bank, or have your merchant services company do this on your behalf. To remain compliant, the PCI-Approved Scanning Vendor may need to conduct quarterly scans on your business, depending on your PCI DSS validation type.
Achieving PCI compliance is the best way to avoid the financial consequences of a data breach, and the only way to avoid PCI compliance fines. Follow the steps above to ensure your business is compliant and protect your bottom line.
Are you looking for a payment processing and merchant services provider as dedicated to your bottom line as you are? Schedule your free 30-minute consultation with a certified payment processing expert today.