Cracking or stealing a cardholder data distresses the entire payment network. Card holders are losing trust in merchants or financial institutions, as their credit can be harmfully affected in a complex manner, taking time to rebuild. Merchants and payment providers’ reliability is being damaged, and they are also being subjected to financial losses.
The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) council was founded by major credit card companies in order to address the growing threat of data breaches among payment cards. Visa, Mastercard and Discover are using the same set of compliance standards, whereas American Express and JCB use different criteria. If the only credit cards you accept as a merchant are Visa, MasterCard and/or Discover, you only need to reference the Visa tables:
Level 1: Merchants processing over 6 million card transactions a year.
Level 2: Merchants processing 1 to 6 million transactions a year.
Level 3: Merchants processing 20,000 to 1 million transactions a year.
Level 4: Merchants processing less than 20,000 transactions a year.
Every business that is accepting, transferring, and holding payment card information is obligated to comply with PCI DSS, a set of global standards that were created in order to keep card holders’ data secure. It contains operative and technical requirements for accepting or processing payment transactions, as well as regulating tech developers of the software and devices used in those transactions.
Managing PCI-DSS compliance is a full-time function for your company. While you have responsibilities to yourself and your customers to shoulder some of this burden, you have much to gain by outsourcing. Today’s business world moves quickly and demands more than ever. To keep up, consider these benefits of outsourcing this critical function.
1. Reduce Scope and In-Scope Processes
Active PCI compliance requires you to heavily invest in continually aligning the network security posture with PCI requirements. When you work with an outsourced compliance provider, you minimize the risk of a PCI related breach on your network. A payment services provider is encrypting your customer credit card numbers at-rest. Ever attempted to face the challenge of provisioning encryption on your databases? This is an experience you definitely don’t want to face yourself.
2. Save Time and Money
You likely process hundreds, if not thousands, of transactions every day. Maintaining a fully in-house compliance function on all of this data takes full-time hours devoted to the task. It costs you the time you could be focusing on building your business and devotes resources to protecting yourself, rather than driving your business forward. If you work with a trusted partner to manage it all, those costs will pay for themselves many times over.
3. Reduce Payroll
The more your sales grow, the more people and time you have to devote to PCI compliance. Not only does this cut into your profit margins, but it also becomes harder to keep finding people with the right skill set and knowledge. Outsourcing this function keeps you from overloading your payroll with defensive costs, and from burdening your recruitment and onboarding teams with hard-to-fill positions.
4. Shift Liability
Data breaches create enormous liability issues for companies every day. By storing your customers’ financial data for compliance purposes, you open yourself up to risk. An outsourced PCI compliance specialist will take on the risk of any breach and cover that risk with their liability insurance. Thus, you protect your revenues and avoid any potentially catastrophic lawsuits that come with any major breach.
5. Preserve Your Positive Reputation
A breach costs much more than money, of course. A business can replace lost funds, and often they would be covered by your commercial liability insurance policy. But you cannot as easily restore a reputation once you have exposed your customers’ financial information to theft. When you outsource PCI compliance functions, you protect your positive reputation against actions from a potential bad actor.
6. Fraud and Risk Management
When applying PCI compliance with your payment provider, you should also examine the fraud and risk management tools that are available via your chosen third party. State-of-the-art fraud and risk management tools are a key benefit of working with a reliable payment provider, since most merchants are not equipped with such capabilities. As part of SafeCharge’s active risk and fraud management services, we monitor our customers’ transactions daily. If we discover suspicious activity, we’ll notify an operator immediately and review the questionable transactions to determine if fraud is at play. Furthermore, we educate merchants on cautious payment processing practices and which documentation they’ll need to minimize fraudulent chargebacks.
As laid out above, PCI compliance demands constant focus, time, and attention. For your business, it creates a sunk cost that only grows with your sales success. That’s why you should look for a partner with expertise and careful attention to detail to both free you up and protect you from disaster. If you’d like to consult about PCI compliance and risk management solutions for your business, feel free to contact me or our support for assistance.
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