What is PCI Compliance?

Any company that is involved with the transmission of sensitive credit card and payment data is required to be PCI compliant. But what is PCI compliance, and how does it impact Canadian merchants?

PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) is a set of standards that is designed to make sure all credit card data stays safe, and is captured and transmitted securely during transactions. As a business that accepts credit card payments, you must be sure all transactions you perform remain compliant to prevent fraud, security breaches, and to help your customers feel confident in purchasing from you.

Founded in 2006, The PCI DSS is administered by the PCI Security Standards Council, which is an independent body formed by the world’s major card brands - Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover and JCB. By setting minimum safety standards for the processing of credit card data, the Council aims to protect both consumers and merchants whenever card transactions occur.

The PCI DSS features a list of requirements to ensure merchants adhere to its safety standards. These requirements vary in nature, from maintaining a secure network to protect card information and implementing access control measures, to passing quarterly vulnerability scans and implementing data security policies for your employees to follow.

The ultimate goal of PCI compliance is to ensure cardholder data does not fall into the wrong hands. This can occur both online and offline; Transaction data can be compromised if your server is hacked, or an unauthorized individual gains access to your office filing cabinet. By adhering to the policies and practices recommended by the PCI DSS, you can improve data security.

Based on the volume of credit card transactions your business performs, there are four distinct levels of PCI compliance that may be required of you:

  • Level 1: Businesses who process more than 6 million transactions each year, via any payment method
  • Level 2: Businesses who process 1-6 million credit card transactions via any payment method
  • Level 3: Businesses who process between 20,000 and 1 million online transactions every year
  • Level 4: Businesses who process less than 20,000 online transactions every year, or who process up to 1 million offline transactions

As a small business owner, PCI compliance may seem confusing. At Swift Payments, we have partnered with Sysnet to ensure that PCI compliance is easy and affordable for merchants of all sizes. You pay no PCI fees when you choose us as your credit card processing company!

For more answers to the question, “What is PCI compliance?” or to find out what type of merchant services are right for your business, get in touch with our experts today.



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