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What is PCI DSS and who needs it?

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a certification framework with requirements set forth by the PCI Security Standards Council, who in turn is founded and governed by the five big payment brands: American Express, Discovery, JCB, Mastercard and Visa.

As is to be expected, the standard is all about security and more specifically the security of the data that is transmitted, processed and/or stored by business that either sell their products and services through card transactions (Merchants) or businesses that facilitate (Service Providers) these transactions for the merchants.

Achieving compliance with PCI DSS is a multi-faceted endeavor. Apart from the many merits you are to benefit from, there are also engagements you must be aware of and comply with. The PCI DSS engagement involves your staff into assessing your infrastructure, technology and people that deal in any way with cardholder data. Depending on the level of compliance that your acquirer demands from you, you may need to enlist the services of a QSA company that is officially certified by the PCI SSC.