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.