PCI Compliance 101

In this short article let's take a look at what PCI compliance is and how to be complaint.

If your store or business accepts credit cards then from the first time you processed a card with your point of sale (POS) computer you were obligated to comply with computer security as dictated by the credit card companies whose cards you accept. This computer security (and other steps you take) ensures you protect your customers credit card information.

Of course there are a few credit card brands (Visa, MC, Amex) and they all had (and still have) their own security programs. That meant you as a merchant had to comply with all of them. To simplify your life (if there is such a thing!) the brands got together and back in 2006 created the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) which basically condensed all the programs into one set of requirements.

These requirements are a thorough set of best practices you must be following to protect your customers card information. You agreed to follow them when you started accepting cards! When you adhere to all the rules then you are "PCI Compliant"

In the next article we'll look at some of the difficulties of plowing through this process and the trouble you can get into if you stick your head in the sand!

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