Thursday, October 18, 2007

What is PCI Compliance?

'PCI COMPLIANCE' IS A TERM that gets bantered about by software companies, credit card companies, financial firms, banks and more.

So what is it? Basically it is a set of standards which have been agreed upon by the 4 largest Credit Card companies - i.e. Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express. to ensure the security of customer data and identity.

One of main tenets that applies to Retail and Hospitality location owners is that credit card information can no longer be stored at the local site in full format, i.e. all numbers visible. Read this article for an example from the WALL STREET JOURNAL: ' In Data Leaks,Culprits OftenAre Mom, Pop"

Many older POS systems, stand alone credit card terminals and cash registers with integrated credit card programs stored the entire credit card number within the system. This was great before the theft of personal information over the internet, hard drives and every other electronic device. Storing the credit card number with the customer information allowed easy recall of sales orders, crediting back charges, establishing subscription or monthly recurring charges and being the neighborhood best buddy when mom called and said 'Put it on the card and Junior will pick it up."

Today those numbers can not only be easily stolen, they can also be transmitted around the world in the blink of an eye. Even though you may live in Muncie, Indiana the purchase of a computer in South America can easily be accomplished by anyone using your credit card or identity information.

Therefore credit card information can no longer be stored directly on the system. No more numbers easily accessed. Even receipts must blank out a portion of the numbers so that they can not be duplicated.

So what does that mean for you, the merchant? If your Cash Register, POS System, Credit Card Terminal or Computer Program is displaying and printing the FULL CREDIT CARD NUMBER, you are in violation of PCI Compliance and subject to very heavy fines for EACH INCIDENT! Up to $25,000 per Card Number stored. Add up the numbers and the cost of a NEW POINT OF SALE SYSTEM that is PCI Compliant is a ripple in the pond.

All of our POS software programs and our Credit Card Processing Partners are in full compliance. You can be sure that you are protected with our solutions. Call for more information today and speak with Mark, Sherry, David, Frank or Lauren.