Compliance isn’t exactly a favorite topic of focus for most businesses, but it’s something that can’t be put on a back burner. It has to be a priority, including PCI compliance. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard is the full name or PCI DSS. It’s all about ensuring that you’re safely and securely collecting information from your customers when they’re submitting credit card transactions with you.
If you have a merchant ID and you accept payment cards, you’re responsible for meeting these standards. According to Reciprocity, a compliance solutions provider, it’s not an easy feat to be PCI compliant, however. They describe 281 total objectives that have to be adhered to.
As overwhelming as that can be, the costs of noncompliance can be worse. The following are specifics of what happens if you aren’t PCI compliant and how to overcome non-compliance.
If you’re a merchant who’s found non-PCI compliant, the financial repercussions can be significant. If a company is not meeting standards, credit card companies can impose fines of anywhere from $1,000 to $100,000 per month to the businesses’ acquiring bank.
The bank is typically going to pass the cost of these fines to the merchant. The bank also has the option to either increase their transaction fees, or they can completely end their contract with the merchant as a result.
Noncompliance fines are based on defined levels. Sometimes the banks will perform forensic research when noncompliance occurs, which can be a costly and time-consuming process for merchants to deal with.
There are often consequences of a breach that extend well beyond the financial ramifications. The impact can be far-reaching in terms of your brand and reputation, and the sense of trust people have in your business.
You’ll need to be proactive when it comes to dealing with the situation and taking responsibility. Also, be aware that 48 of 50 states have laws dictating how breaches are handled, and how people affected are notified.
You’re going to have to think about not only your reputation in the eyes of your customers but also your vendors and partners.
Have a Plan for Achieving Compliance
Finally, if you’ve already been in an experience where you’ve been PCI noncompliant, don’t focus on looking backward. It’s important to think about looking forward and creating a future plan for compliance instead.
A business should first ensure that they know what the requirements are for them to be PCI compliant. Interestingly, this is something not all businesses have an understanding of. Then, they should try and create milestone dates that they can meet to deal with the specific issues surrounding non-compliance. Using compliance software is typically one of the best ways to manage all the details of compliance requirements. This can eliminate the need for an expensive third-party consulting firm to come in and help.
It can also be helpful to reframe the way your organization sees PCI compliance. Rather than seeing it as frustrating rules and financial penalties, try to view it as something that will strengthen your organization, ensure you protect customers and build a trustworthy brand.