Merchants who process consumers’ card information have probably heard about PCI compliance numerous times since they started their businesses. Complying with PCI Standards is vital for any size business, online or otherwise. But if business owners are not proactive about complying, they could face costly consequences. Therefore, every merchant needs to know what PCI means.
What does PCI stand for?
PCI stands for Payment Card Industry.
More than a decade ago, the PCI Security Standards Council established certain principles known as the PCI Data Security Standards. Merchants are supposed follow them to better ensure secure card transactions and data management.
Every time a credit card or a debit card is used to make a payment, there is a chance that the customer’s information could land in the wrong hands. How merchants handle consumer data is extremely important. That’s why the council developed these standards in the first place, and it continues to revise them in order to make them more effective.
What happens if my business does not follow PCI Standards?
If your business doesn’t comply with PCI Standards, you could face quite a few fines. But it’s not just the fines that can have a negative impact. When you don’t follow PCI Standards, it’s more like a domino effect.
For instance, the reputation of your business could be permanently tarnished. Consumers may rightly worry about using their cards to make a purchase at your business and their growing concern might make them feel so vulnerable that they won’t use you again. And their departure could ruin your business.
Additionally, consumers directly affected by a non-PCI-compliant business (i.e., card information is stolen) could turn it into a serious legal matter, filing a class-action law suit that results in the merchant losing even more money.
Credit card processing companies stay informed about PCI Standards and make sure their clients adhere to those policies. So as long as you have a merchant account, you can refer back to the experts with any PCI-related questions and keep consumer data safe.