Running a small business involves a lot of moving parts. For owners, it can become difficult to remember all the necessary requirements, laws, and codes while trying to maintain profitability and success. While it may not be at the front of your mind, always remember and respect PCI compliance.
What are the PCI Compliance Requirements?
According to PractcialEcommerce.com, there are six categories of PCI standards that must be met for a merchant to be considered compliant:
- Maintain a secure network and server
- Protect cardholder data
- Maintain a vulnerability management program
- Implement access control measures
- Monitor and test networks on a regular basis
- Maintain an information security policy
Should I be PCI Compliant?
No matter who is asking, the answer is yes. Every organization that accepts credit cards as a form of payment – regardless of size – must come into compliance with PCI standards. Those that fail to comply can be hit with serious fines. These can range from $5,000-$10,000, depending on the seriousness of the violation. For those that repeatedly refuse to comply, it is possible to lose the entire business. According to the PCI Compliance Guide, there are levels of compliance, though. The lower the level, the stricter data requirements become. Here are the four levels of PCI compliance:
- Level 1. Any merchant processing more than 6 million transactions per year.
- Level 2. Any merchant processing 1 to 6 million transactions per year.
- Level 3. Any merchant processing 20,000 to 1 million transactions per year.
- Level 4. Any merchant processing less than 20,000 e-commerce transactions per year.
Tips for PCI Compliance
To remain compliant, develop a detailed plan of action.
- Avoid storing any cardholder data. Do this by using a card reader, POS, or payment processor that doesn’t store information on your system. This allows you to avoid the need for protecting and encrypting data.
- If possible, try using a separate network with a unique internet connection for processing payments. This provides a second line of defense and can prevent the need for constantly updating your network to stay PCI compliant in the future.
- If you use a mobile card reader like Square or PayPal Here, ensure your mobile device is never compromised or stolen. It is advised that you install an antivirus app and only download apps from the official app store used by your phone.
- To make sure you are secure and compliant, get in touch with the company that processes your credit card transactions. They can give you advice on how to get secure and meet industry standards.
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