PCI Compliance: What it takes to become PCI compliant


Data breaches and credit card information theft are among the top issues faced in this digital transformation era. There were about 389,845 credit card fraud reports in the US in 2021. Even tech giants like Adobe have fallen prey to cyber criminals, who got access to the credit card information of over 3 million users. Adobe was fined a $1 million settlement fee in 15 states, and they had to offer clients affected one year’s worth of credit monitoring. Businesses can avoid these breaches by being PCI compliant. 

So, in this article, we will talk about PCI compliance, how to become PCI compliant, and its pros and cons. 

What is PCI Compliance?

PCI DSS, or Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, is a well-known regulation aimed at protecting customer credit card information from theft and disclosure. Many businesses must comply with PCI, especially any organization that stores, processes, or transmits credit card information. 

PCI DSS was first introduced on September 7, 2006, to increase account security and ensure PCI security standards when monetary transactions take place. The PCI DSS is managed and maintained by the PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC), consisting of MasterCard, Visa, JCB, American Express, and Discover. However, those responsible for enforcing compliance are acquired and payment brands rather than the PCI SSC. 

Requirements for PCI Compliance

Businesses and merchants that handle client credit card information need to adhere to PCI compliance standards to reduce the possibility of identity theft. That is why the parties involved need to constantly ensure the guidelines are strictly followed. There are 12 key requirements, 78 base requirements, and more than 400 test procedures these companies need to follow to ensure compliance. 

How to become PCI compliant

To ensure compliance, businesses must follow PCI guidelines. Here are the 12 key requirements or steps that are considered security best practices:

  1. Use Appropriate password protection like 2-factor authentication. 
  2. Implement firewalls to secure data
  3. protect cardholder data
  4. Use anti-malware and antivirus software
  5. Limit or restrict access to cardholder information
  6. Update company software and security systems regularly
  7. Assign unique IDs to those with access to client information
  8. Enforce physical restrictions on customer information
  9. create and monitor access logs
  10. ensure that security systems are checked regularly
  11. Create and enforce policies that are documented. 
  12. Encrypt cardholder data

Benefits of PCI Compliance

There are numerous guidelines that credit card companies need to follow to be compliant, and it is a daunting task, especially for startups who don’t have the manpower or equipment. However, being PCI compliant is crucial and may save you a whole lot of money and trouble. Here are some of the benefits

Continuous assessment and maintenance of security gaps in business systems help to prevent theft of customer-sensitive information such as license and social security number. 

Being PCI compliant means all your systems are secure. This increases clients’ trust in your business, and they can confidently provide you with their sensitive information. And once customers trust you, they will constantly return, leading to more profits. 

PCI Compliance augments the reputation your business has among payment brands and acquirers. 

The process of being PC compliant is ongoing, which prevents security breaches. It helps companies prepare for additional regulations such as SOX, HIPAA, and much more.

PCI compliance helps enhance corporate security policies and augments the efficiency of IT infrastructure. 

Disadvantages of PCI Non-Compliance

Failing to meet the PCI compliance standards can result in disastrous consequences. Building a brand that customers trust is tedious, so don’t take any chances with their sensitive information. Meeting the PCI compliance standards ensures that your customers stay protected and your business is secure. Here are some of the disadvantages:

Compromised data can be used against financial institutions, merchants, and customers for extortion purposes. 

The reputation of your business will be severely damaged, even leading to a complete shutdown. 

Your company will be met with lawsuits, canceled accounts, insurance claims, and fines which can lead to bankruptcy. Fines levied for non-compliance can range from $5,000 to about $500,000 per breach.

Who Should Be PCI Compliant?

All businesses or companies that accept and store cardholder-sensitive information. 


For any business to be PCI compliant, they need to follow PCI data security standards. The body responsible for developing PCI DSS is the PCI Security Standards Council.

There are 12 main requirements, 78 base requirements, and more than 400 other tests and processes to ensure PCI compliance. 

Companies that are PCI compliant have fewer data breaches, avoid fines, and increase their reputation and, eventually, profits. 

Even though PCI compliance is not required by law, it is still mandatory and must be followed. 

So, to avoid all the hassle that comes after being breached, it is better to be PCI compliant. It is a gradual process that can be done over time. Also, to avoid data breaches, it is necessary to work with a payment processor like Payadmit, which offers a secure one-Stop payment gateway solution for your business.

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