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Why Comply with PCI Security Standards?

Why should you, as a merchant, comply with the PCI Security Standards? At first glance, especially if you are a smaller organization, it may seem like a lot of effort, and confusing to boot. But not only is compliance becoming increasingly important, it may not be the headache you expected.

Compliance with data security standards can bring major benefits to businesses of all sizes, while failure to comply can have serious and long-term negative consequences. Here are some reasons why.

  • Compliance with the PCI DSS means that your systems are secure, and customers can trust you with their sensitive payment card information:
    • Trust means your customers have confidence in doing business with you
    • Confident customers are more likely to be repeat customers, and to recommend you to others

  • Compliance improves your reputation with acquirers and payment brands -- the partners you need in order to do business
     
  • Compliance is an ongoing process, not a one-time event. It helps prevent security breaches and theft of payment card data, not just today, but in the future:
    • As data compromise becomes ever more sophisticated, it becomes ever more difficult for an individual merchant to stay ahead of the threats
    • The PCI Security Standards Council is constantly working to monitor threats and improve the industry’s means of dealing with them, through enhancements to PCI Security Standards and by the training of security professionals
    • When you stay compliant, you are part of the solution – a united, global response to fighting payment card data compromise

  • Compliance has indirect benefits as well:
    • Through your efforts to comply with PCI Security Standards, you’ll likely be better prepared to comply with other regulations as they come along, such as HIPAA, SOX, etc.
    • You’ll have a basis for a corporate security strategy
    • You will likely identify ways to improve the efficiency of your IT infrastructure

  • But if you are not compliant, it could be disastrous:
    • Compromised data negatively affects consumers, merchants, and financial institutions
    • Just one incident can severely damage your reputation and your ability to conduct business effectively, far into the future
    • Account data breaches can lead to catastrophic loss of sales, relationships and standing in your community, and depressed share price if yours is a public company
    • Possible negative consequences also include:

      • Lawsuits
      • Insurance claims
      • Cancelled accounts
      • Payment card issuer fines
      • Government fines

You’ve worked hard to build your business – make sure you secure your success by securing your customers’ payment card data. Your customers depend on you to keep their information safe – repay their trust with compliance to the PCI Security Standards.

Convinced about the value of compliance?
Perhaps we made the hairs on the back of your neck stand up for a moment – but we are here to offer resources that can help. Take the first step in your PCI Security Standards compliance journey with our Getting Started section.

For specific questions, there is a wealth of information in our FAQs. If you have a small business, see our information especially for small merchants.

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The PCI Security Standards Council (the "Council") provides a variety of tools, questionnaires, guidance, FAQs, training resources and other materials and information to assist organizations seeking to achieve compliance with its standards (the "Standards"). Third party products and services are also available, but the Council does not endorse or recommend any such third party products or services, and advises all organizations seeking to achieve compliance to become familiar with the Standards and related requirements before purchasing third party products or services. Ultimately, all applicable requirements must be met in order to achieve compliance, regardless of whether or what third party products or services are used.