PCI Data Security: How it Protects You and Your Customers

Any business that handles customer credit or debit cards has a responsibility to protect that financial data. This is especially true for the retail industry, where countless transactions will be completed using these types of payment cards every single day. It is crucial to ensure that this sensitive information is compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) on a consistent basis so that a credit card data breach doesn’t compromise your customers’ security.

Here at RCS, we perform a PCI audit each year. We go the extra mile to carry out this due diligence, even though we do not collect any payment card information. We do this because the security of our customers is at the absolute top of our priority list. Read on to learn why and how your retail business should stay in line with PCI standards.

What is PCI Compliance?

Person handing a retailer a credit card for payment.These days, it’s rare to see people pay for products or services at the point of sale with physical cash. Most people prefer the convenience of payment cards. In fact, a majority of us just swipe or tap our cards without a second thought. But with any technological advancement in the financial field comes a certain level of risk, and fraud is a very real danger.

Luckily, credit card companies came together to develop a defense system. They determined a series of best practices, called the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS), in order to protect consumers, business owners, and banks all at once. There are 4 levels of PCI compliance, with regulations increasing in scope in accordance with how much e-Commerce money a retailer processes annually.

PCI standards are not legally binding, but businesses that don’t comply with these rules can be heavily penalized by VISA and other payment brands or the bank they choose to process payments with. These fees for noncompliance can range as high as $500,000 in extreme cases. As an additional penalty, the privilege of a retailer to accept credit cards can also be revoked if they break the rules. It is best to be proactive and prevent such drastic outcomes.

How To Perform a PCI Audit

Usually, it falls upon retailers to evaluate their own compliance. However, this time-consuming process can be a complete headache for those unfamiliar with PCI standards. It involves checking the physical environment and network environment in addition to both the Hardware and Software of the point-of-sale system. If you were to take on this involved responsibility all by yourself, it would involve completing the following tasks for your business:

  • Determining the origin, pathway, and exit points of all credit card info
  • Identifying both hard-copy and electronic locations of credit card info
  • Performing a risk assessment to minimize threats
  • Ensuring your policies are aligned with the strict standard of the PCI framework
  • Checking annually that your compliance is up to date with current standards

Seems pretty overwhelming, right? In reality, very few retail businesses attempt to juggle all of this work by themselves. To tell the truth, a huge portion of companies are not actually operating up to the standards that they should be. But don’t feel hopeless: there is a way to ensure you remain in PCI compliance while keeping the PCI audit process convenient and quick.

Work With PCI Auditors

Woman taps her credit card to pay a retailer.Working with PCI auditors is our recommendation when it comes to keeping the credit card data of our customers safe. RCS works with LBMC, a certified team of professionals whose payment data security services help us achieve superior compliance at an expedited speed. We employ the assistance of PCI auditors because we take the financial security of your retail guests very seriously.

There’s nothing we won’t do to keep customers’ payment information safe from potential data breaches or other threats. RCS does not collect payment card information in the first place, but we still make this annual PCI audit a non-negotiable priority. If your retail business accepts debit or credit card payments from customers in any capacity, this should be a key area of focus for your store.

Do The Right Thing: Keep Credit Card Data Safe

If proper business ethics and instilling customer trust are core values of your company, then we highly suggest investing in expert PCI audit services.

Yes, this process will cost you some time, effort, and money. But the peace of mind you get when you know your customers’ information is safe and secure is priceless. Furthermore, showing your customers that you are serious about security boosts their trust and loyalty to your brand. Join us in adopting secure strategies that benefit businesses and customers at the same time.

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