What is the PCI definition?
What the heck is it? As a small business owner, why do I need to know what it is? What importance does it hold for me?
These are all very good questions every small business owner needs to ask themselves. If you aren’t familiar with the term PCI (maybe you just started your own business) don’t worry. It’s not a term most people who are new to business know much about.
Spelled out, the acronym P-C-I stand for Payment Card Industry. As you can tell by the simple breakdown, it represents a very important part of your everyday business operations. It denotes all payment card types, ATMs, eWallets and ePurses, and all businesses associated with them.
When your customer shops at your place of business, whether it is a physical brick-and-mortar location or an online business, a majority of them use one form of card payment or another. Those payment cards hold a lot of sensitive information which is used to authorize their purchases.
When a customer swipes or inserts their card into a reader, ATM, or enters it into an online shopping cart, the information is encrypted and transferred through a payment processor to the financial institution associated with the card and then back to the merchant.
This is the quick and easy version. It’s a little more complex, but for the sake of this writing, we’ll leave it at that for now. For more in-depth information on payment processing check here.
This process includes some of the major (and most commonly associated) pieces of the Payment Card Industry.
The Payment Card Industry has its own Council which develops and determines what security measures are the best and safest and which ones should be used for the processing of card payments.
They created a standard for these security measures they call DSS or Data Security Standards. This standard is used throughout the payment card industry.
There are additional standards individual card brands establish as well and is at the discretion of those companies, each of which has their own individual set of compliance standards used by service providers.
You’ve heard of them: Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, etc. These are some of the major credit card companies PCI is comprised of. JCB (Japan Credit Bureau) is also a major international credit card company included in the Payment Card Industry.
What does all of this mean to your business? What are we blabbering on about here?
Well, it is actually very useful information to know because in order to accept credit, debit, gift, and any other form of card payment, you have to be compliant with the standards set by the PCI.
It’s called being “PCI Compliant”.
This is a term you will definitely become intimately aware of as a business owner, if you’re not already.
Any merchant who processes, stores, or transmits credit card information is required to be PCI compliant. It is meant to protect the customer (your customer) and their sensitive information but it is also for the protection of your business.
Meeting the security standards set forth by the Payment Card Industry helps your business avoid liability in the case fraud is present. It is your “insurance policy,” so to speak, and helps banks and credit card companies determine who is responsible and liable for fraud… and avoid you having to pay for any fraud.
If all of the PCI/DSS standards are being met by your business, chances are very good your business will not be left “holding the bag.”
If your business is not PCI compliant, you will eventually incur fines from the financial institution who processes your credit card transactions.
Taking it a step further, if a data breach does occur and you have not yet met all of the PCI/DSS standards at the time of the breach, you will receive exponentially heavier fines from the banks or credit card companies.
You will also be required to report the data breach to the credit card company or bank you use which will be made public, which would most definitely damage your business’ good reputation.
The last thing I think any smart business owner wants is to see their business as the subject of fraud on the nightly news.
Do some research. Make sure you have a clear understanding of what these standards are which are set forward by the Payment Card Industry.
Or, skip the research… talk to one of our awesome customer support folks here at RedFynn and we’ll not only let you know what’s what about our good buddies PCI, but we’ll also hold your hand and assign a dedicated representative to you and your business so you don’t have to do this alone.
We’ll literally be on the phone with you guiding you through the process.
Sounds pretty sweet, right? Very few (if any) merchant service companies do this for their clients. Just one of the ways RedFynn Technologies stand far apart from the crowd.
Check out the other ways we do!
If you have any questions about the Payment Card Industry or how to make sure your business is meeting PCI compliance standards, just give us a call! This is what we do.