PCI Compliance

What Does PCI Compliance Mean?

PCI compliance involves meeting standards related to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) put together by major credit card companies such as Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express. Any merchants handling cardholder information must maintain PCI compliance or be penalized by the companies responsible for creating the standard.


Techopedia Explains PCI Compliance

In general, PCI compliance involves creating a secure environment for cardholder information, including card numbers, expiration dates and security codes. PCI compliance comes in four levels, according to the volume of cardholder information handled by a particular merchant.

Merchants can use self-assessment questionnaires to figure out whether they are PCI compliant. In some cases, merchants may receive audits by outside parties to determine their level of PCI compliance and how to improve.

Penalties for PCI compliance violation include fines of $5,000 to $100,000 a month. These are not fines levied by the government. They are fines levied by the credit card companies, and the major cost of PCI compliance violation relates to a deteriorating relationship with the credit card companies or to contingencies for continued participation.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…