Thousands of merchant’s everyday swipe cards for us and with that, comes a great responsibility. Our information is in the hands of merchants that must comply with the rules set forth by the PCI or Payment Card Industry. The rules are in place to protect the card users and insure, for public safety, that our personal information, as well as our card information, goes no further than the place we have chosen to do business.
Computers used by the merchants have shown great vulnerability and questionable tactics. They have a network that not only they use, but have opened to their customers for use as well. If the Firewall they are using is incomplete or in any way, shape, or form it will expose information to hackers and thieves. We have all heard in recent years, of the tactics taken by cyber terrorists, and they have no problem taking what is not theirs.
PCI Compliance Rules
The PCI was started by American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa and JCB International as our major card holders. As long as the merchants follow the rules, they are in compliance. If they fail to keep our information safe, it can result in some major fines. They range anywhere from $5,000 to a whopping $100,000 fine. If you are a smaller business, that could close your doors. Even if you are one of the major retailers, it could put quite the damper on the budget. Its serious business and these card companies intend to keep the bar high.
DSS (Data Security Standard)
The PCI has mandated that retailers properly secure their data from the credit cards and they have a twelve step process they require. With these twelve steps, as long as the merchant follows them, they are in compliance with the rules and the public can rest assured their information is safe in that companies hands.
Companies are divided into four business levels.
• Level One: More than 6 million transactions a year.
• Level Two: 1 million to 6 million transactions per year.
•Level Three: 20,000 to 1 million e-commerce transactions per year.
• Level Four: Less than 20,000 Visa e-commerce transactions per year, and all other merchants processing up to 1 million Visa transactions per year.
Most of our merchants fall into Level four status and they are the hardest to keep track of, but with the PCI Security Council, they continually ask for validation through certificates. With this check and balance system going on, the PCI seems to work.
This system could wreak havoc on all of us that use cards. As long as the human factor stays under control, the computer system with firewalls and security works well. Over all, it does not appear to be a scam at all. It’s put into place to protect the average buyer from losing all their privacy and from thieves walking off with everything. One of the many High Risk Merchant Account companies out there, like eMerchantBroker.com can help you get set up. As long as everyone follows the rules, the system works.