PCI Compliance

P-C-What?

All sorts of charges tend to appear on your merchant statement, the monthly bill that you receive from your credit card processor (and not many can interpret). This statement details the fees you were charged for credit card payments your business accepted, but can be difficult to understand. From authorized ion and transaction fees to chargeback and batch fees, you have all sorts of things to check and recheck. One of these fees is a PCI compliance fee. But most people don’t know what that is, or why you need it. So here’s some details.

What is PCI? 

Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards, otherwise known as PCI DSS, is a set of regulations developed by the PCI Security Standards Council. It was created to protect consumer card data from being compromised after a transaction takes place. This is a super key for merchants – you must ensure that you’re following the requirements to protect your consumer’s data. You have to demonstrate you maintain and routinely monitor your security network and you work to keep cardholder information away from hackers and bad guys. But how do you do that? After all, don’t you have a business to run?

So Now What? 

This is where your PCI compliance fee comes in. This fee shows up on your merchant statement whether or not your business meets all these standards, because it is assessed to help you meet the criteria of being compliant. If your business is not PCI compliant, then you will probably find a monthly non-compliance fee somewhere on your statement. You will continue to be charged until you can demonstrate that your business has become compliant. But even if your business is following the requirements, you will most likely be charged another type of PCI compliance fee that covers the cost of charges imposed upon your merchant service provider by the PCI Security Standards Council. This can be charged monthly or annually. Your credit card processor must show that each and every merchant account it supports is compliant with the privacy guidelines. So the PCI compliance service your provider uses typically requires a quarterly or annual online survey that merchants must complete to assure the PCI Council that you are handling customer information securely. These services cost money, so you pay a specific fee to cover it.

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