Tag Archives: compliance

Top Misconceptions about PCI

5 Sep

Today I am going to focus on the major misconceptions that people have about PCI. So before getting started with the misconceptions, lets understand what is PCI & to whom it applies.

PCI DSS

What is PCI ?

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a set of security standards designed to ensure that all the companies that accept, process, store or transmit credit card information maintain a secure environment. The PCI Security Standards Council is a global forum for the ongoing development, enhancement, storage, dissemination and implementation of security standards for account data protection.

The PCI DSS is administered and managed by the PCI SSC (www.pcisecuritystandards.org), an independent body that was created by the major payment card brands (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover and JCB card.)  Now since you have some knowledge about PCI, you might have understood that it applies to all the organizations regardless of  their size or the number of transactions, that accepts, transmits or stores any cardholder data.

Myth PCI

Let us now see the common misconceptions:

  • Since we don’t store credit card information, we don’t have to be PCI compliant. This statement is false as PCI DSS does not only apply to the storage of credit card data but it also applies to the handling of data while it is processed or transmitted over networks. Since you are not storing credit card data it does eliminate compliance requirements as the majority of the controls dictated by the DSS remain in effect. The only way to avoid PCI compliance is to transfer the risk entirely to someone else, such as third party payment,for example; PayPal’s Website Payments Standard service where customers interact with the PayPal SDK directly and credit card information never traverses to own servers.
  • The PCI Data Security Standards is only a recommendation and not a requirement. This is also a false statement. The Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) is a private regulatory body that enforce the PCI DSS standard for merchants and service providers, regardless of their number & size. If the company stores, processes, or transmits any of the information recorded on a credit or debit card then they must abide by the PCI DSS else they have to face significant fines, higher opex costs through increased compliance requirements, and potential suspension or expulsion from card processing networks.
  • Since we process a few number of credit cards only, so we don’t have to be compliant. Again a false statement. The merchants who process less than 20k transactions a year is not bound to seek the compliance validation  but the obligations of PCI compliance is still there as the data you store can be compromised and have serious consequences.
  • Since we use PayPal/Authorize.NET therefore we don’t have to be PCI complaint. People often thinks that we have transferred the burden of PCI compliance to the payment services provider but there are certain services (e.g. PayPal’s Website Payments Pro).If your website integrates with PayPal via an API then you are still liable for PCI compliance since your servers capture and transmit the credit card data first.
  • PCI  compliance only applies to eCommerce. The compliance is not applicable to any particular domain and hence it is applicable to every domain including eCommerce.

There are lots of other misconceptions about PCI which are not listed in this post. The purpose of the post is to share the general information and misconceptions of payment compliance. Please do share your feedback about this post.

References: 

https://www.pcisecuritystandards.org/document_library?association=PCI-DSS
https://www.pcisecuritystandards.org/

 

 

 

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