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PCI Compliance — Your Best Strategy to Protect Payment Data

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If you accept credit cards in your business, you already know how its benefits can contribute to your business success. Your customers appreciate the convenience of buying now and paying later which helps build customer loyalty. Consumers are also more inclined to spend greater amounts when paying by credit card — increasing your bottom line. Regardless of the type of merchandise and service you provide, or whether you have one location or many, or sell online or offline — one thing remains the same for all merchants. Your customers rely on you to keep their payment data secure. There is nothing more important for the sake of your customers and your business.

Unfortunately, we live in a world where cybercriminals are continuously plotting and practicing at finding vulnerabilities in your network to exploit for their gain. This is why Payment Card Industry (PCI) Security Standards have been put in place. Compliance with the PCI Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is critical to your business as a common-sense security solution. PCI DSS applies to all system components included in or connected to the cardholder data environment. Protecting cardholder data is good for your customers and good for your business.

Before getting into the details of what PCI DSS means for you, an important thing to note is that it is an ongoing process. It is not something you can do once and be done for good. There are three phases to adhering to PCI DSS and they include:

  1. Assessment — In this phase you identify cardholder data, take an inventory of your IT assets and business processes for payment card processing, and analyze them for vulnerabilities that could expose cardholder data.
  2. Remediation — Here you fix vulnerabilities and eliminate unnecessary cardholder data storage.
  3. Reporting — Next you compile and submit required remediation validation records (when applicable) and submit compliance reports to the acquiring bank and the card brands with which you do business.


Overall, PCI DSS is comprised of 12 general requirements designed to build and maintain a secure network, protect cardholder data, ensure the maintenance of vulnerability management programs, implement strong access control measures, regularly monitor and test networks, and ensure the maintenance of information security policies.

These standards created by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) — an organization formed by the five major card brands — apply to any merchant or service provider who stores, processes or transmits customer account data.

Any merchant or provider that is not PCI compliant will face expensive fines and fees, a costly and possibly lengthy audit and other restrictions if a security breach occurs. Many businesses fail to recover from the resulting financial burdens and blow to their professional reputation. Don’t let this happen to you. TransFirst® offers a unique Data Breach Security Program that’s specifically designed to help merchants meet the expenses resulting from a suspected or actual breach of payment card data.

As the quantity and severity of cybercrimes continues to grow, it’s important to understand the steps you need to take to achieve and maintain PCI compliance to protect your network, your customers and your business.

For more information on PCI DSS compliance, call us at 800.654.9256 to speak to an experienced and knowledgeable TransFirst representative. We are here 24/7 to serve your needs.

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federally-registered U.S. service marks of Total System Services, Inc. TransFirst is a registered ISO/MSP of: Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Walnut Creek, CA; Synovus Bank, Columbus, GA; and Deutsche Bank, New York, NY; for Visa® and MasterCard® transactions only. TSYS Merchant Solutions is a registered ISO/MSP of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Walnut Creek, CA and Synovus Bank, Columbus, GA.